While sales of personal computers are stagnating or even decrease, shipments of microprocessors continue to increase, according to International Data Corp. since more and more smart electronics integrated various PC chips.
Worldwide revenues for microprocessors designed for desktops, notebooks and servers will grow 1.6% to $40.7 billion in 2013, while global unit shipments for PC microprocessors will grow 3.2% to nearly 384 million units in 2013, according to a new IDC report.
"Economic and technological inhibitors that took the PC microprocessor revenue down about 2.4% in 2012 will continue through the first half of 2013. Macroeconomic uncertainty has forced OEM and IT customers to reduce orders and focus on execution, and reduce expectations after the launch of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system in late October. Delays in PC purchases caused by Windows 8 and the encroachment of media tablets on low-end PCs have further cut into PC microprocessor demand growth," said Shane Rau, vice president for PC and server semiconductor and enabling technologies research at IDC.
For mobile PCs, the tablet versus PC competition in 2013 will establish for ensuing years a significant fault line in the PC client system and so the PC microprocessor space. On one side of this fault line will be x86- and ARM-based mobile PCs with 13.3” or smaller screens and Windows 8 targeted at low-power and productivity applications. On the other side of this line will be x86-based mobile PCs with 14” and larger screens targeted at high performance applications. IDC estimates that 3.3% of mobile PC processors will be based on the ARM architecture by 2016.
For servers, the prospect of ARM processors encroachment on a market segment dominated by x86 processors is more distant than it is in the client space. While traditional x86 client PC microprocessors seem in a defensive position against ARM processors scaling in tablets and clamshell PCs, x86-based processors are scaling upwards and outwards in terms of performance and their application reach into high-end computing applications. IDC estimates that 3.2% of PC server processors will be based on the ARM architecture by 2016.
Worldwide PC microprocessor market revenue will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4% for the period 2011 through 2016. Unit shipments will grow at a CAGR of 3.2% for the same period.
"For vendors of microprocessors and other PC technologies, the future belongs to those who can best execute on a vision of what computing ultimately should be and how users assess the value to them. Vendors should strive for an increased perception of value so systems can be sold on their utility and not merely their price. Such a transformation requires time for assessment and education along the value chain. It also requires sustained investments in the PC ecosystem distinct from the investments going into the hot tablet ecosystem," added Mr. Rau.