by Anton Shilov
05/09/2013 | 07:58 PM
Performance of integrated graphics solutions have been growing rapidly in the recent years and is expected to leap forward this year as AMD and Intel Corp. release their next-gen products. At the same time, sales of personal computers have been declining in the recent quarters. Both factors pose a threat not only to all PC hardware makers in general, but for producers of discrete graphics chips in particular. However, Nvidia Corp. does not believe it will face any problems with standalone GPUs.
“The discrete GPU market has been growing for us 12% CAGR over the last four – five years. We see no reason why it is going to stop. The reason for that is because we are making the GPU more useful over time. Four years ago no one spoke of using GPUs for general-purpose computing. Four years ago no one spoke of using GPUs to accelerate digital content creation applications. Four years ago no one spoke about putting GPUs in servers. […] We have expanded the reach of GPUs into non-PC devices,” said Rob Csongor, vice president of investor relations at Nvidia, during the quarterly conference call with financial analysts.
Today, companies like Cisco, IBM, Dell, HP, all are shipping servers with GPUs inside. Those servers are aimed for high-performance technical computing, cloud computing, Big Data and many other purposes. In addition, graphics processing units (GPUs) these days also accelerate many consumer and professional applications, which means that if someone needs truly high performance, he or she will have to buy a discrete graphics card.
But there are other factors that will drive adoption of standalone graphics adapters. Despite of the rise of smartphones and tablets, personal computers are back as a video game platform thanks to leading-edge titles like Crysis 3, FarCry 3, Grid 2, Metro Last Light as well as various Free to Play games.
“Meanwhile, PC is really one of the most important gaming platforms today; it is one of the most important gaming platforms because it is open. If you were developing free to play games […] the PC is really a terrific platform to them, there are many markets outside the United States, where the game console are just not as popular. For example China, South Korea, [in] many of the regions outside of the United States, particularly Asia, which happens to be the fastest growing markets for us, the PC is really the preferred gaming platform and we are seeing a lot of growth there,” said Mr. Csongor.
It is evident that tablets, thin clients and ultrabooks are gaining market acceptance. However, there are numerous use cases for which those devices are simply not even considered.
“So, there are a lot of reasons to be enthusiastic about the continued growth of GPUs. […] Tablets disrupt the PC. [They] disrupt the PC for casual PC use. You cannot really use a tablet to design a car yet, and it really does not make sense to use a phone to create a movie. So, there are a lot of productivity [applications where] the keyboard is important and large storage is important and a mouse is important and large display is important. So for a lot of us the PC continues to be very important and those are not being disrupted really,” stressed the vice president of Nvidia.