Workstation Market Continued to Grow in Q2 2010 - Analysts [UPDATED]

The Market of Workstations Continues to Rebound

by Anton Shilov
08/31/2010 | 09:08 PM

UPDATE: Adding comments regarding average selling prices (ASPs) of workstations.


The workstation market posted another round of solid numbers in the second quarter of 2010, but that growth is expected to slow in Q3, according to Jon Peddie Research (JPR). In general, the market of workstation computers is definitely on the rise this year, which is a good news for all parties involved.

795 Thousand Workstations Shipped

The technology and market research firm reports that the industry shipped 795 thousand workstations worldwide in Q2, resulting in sequential growth of 9.6% and a year-over-year increase of 32%. The 32% year-over-year growth matched the largest JPR has seen since Q1 2006, though that should not be surprising when considering how dramatically the market had fallen by Q2 2009.

The amount of workstations shipped in Q2 2010 was still lower compared shipments in late 2007 and three first quarters of 2008. Moreover, the average selling prices of workstations did not rebound from $1900 - $2000 last year to $2100 - $2300 in previous years. Still, it is a good news that businesses began to update their workstations.

"Q2 2010 workstation ASPs held up reasonably well with just a 1.1% decline. The new Westmere-based systems probably helped to both push ASPs up, since it is a new desirable generation of technology and there are high-end six-core chips based on the new micro-architecture, but also down as in the workstation space they were primarily used Core i3/i5 chips to create new lower-end models," said Alex Herrera, a senior analyst at Jon Peddie Research.

Sales of Professional Graphics Cards Are Stagnating

But while shipments of workstations were high in the second quarter, it looks like sales of advanced computers will not grow significantly in the third quarter, according to Jon Peddie Research.

The industry has a consistent leading indicator for workstation market performance coming from the related market for professional graphics hardware. That market for professional GPUs (graphics processing units, either add-in cards or mobile modules) had been on a hot run, exceeding growth expectations for the preceding four quarters, especially Q1 2010, which posted an all-time high of 1.26 million units. All those professional GPUs have to go somewhere, and the vast majority eventually shipped in workstations. As professional GPU shipments rise, then so will workstation volume.

By contrast, the professional graphics hardware market moderated in the second quarter, essentially flat from Q1, which means another 1.3 million of ATI FirePro and Nvidia Quadro solutions. Accordingly, while Jon Peddie Research expects workstation growth to continue into the third quarter, the firm anticipates a more moderate pace. And given concerns that the previous quarters' exceptionally hot numbers were hinting at a market getting too far ahead of itself, that moderation is probably a healthy thing. Nvidia Quadro continued to dominate the market in Q2 2010.

Dell vs. HP: Another Tie

In the second quarter, HP and Dell were once again in a virtual tie for leadership in the workstation market. Dell just nudged HP in units, but by JPR's estimates, HP nosed out Dell in revenue. For yet another quarter, JPR calls this race a tie.

Back in Q1 2010 Dell commanded 39.3% of the workstation market by volume, whereas HP supplied 38.1% of workstations. Based on the comments from JPR, it looks like Dell has increased its share to over 40%, whereas HP continued to focus on advanced workstations and beat Dell in terms of revenue.