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Graphics card shipments increased by nearly 30% year over year in 2021

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The worst of the global GPU shortage appears to be behind us. Prices are falling in most regions, cards are actually in stock at many retailers and it appears as though the crypto mining craze has peaked.

To illustrate just how much the market exploded in 2021, a recently published report by Graphic Speak (via Tom’s Hardware) suggests that $51.8 billion dollars worth of graphics cards were shipped in 2021. The number of cards sold increased by 29.5% over the number sold in 2020, and that’s despite the major impacts of the pandemic and the resulting supply chain issues, worker furloughs and logistics bottlenecks. 

Normally you’d assume that greater production would have made it easier to get your hands on a card, but as we all know, that wasn’t the case. Some cards were instantly sold out or bought up by bots even at double their RRP, if not more.

The Graphics Speak data is sourced from Jon Peddie Research. It goes on to break down the Nvidia and AMD market share, stating: “AMD’s quarter-to-quarter total desktop AIB unit shipments, meanwhile, increased 12.4% and increased 35.7% from that quarter in the previous year. Nvidia’s quarter-to-quarter unit shipments increased 0.5% and increased 27.7% from Q4’20. Nvidia continues to hold a dominant market share position at 77.2%”

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This shows that both AMD and Nvidia sold ship loads of cards, with AMD doing particularly well in the 4th quarter. And you can be sure that a lot of those cards went into the rigs of miners. Actually, a lot of them would have ended up happily hashing in warehouses or data centres.

As the research and data dates back to 2021, there’s a lot happening in 2022 that will toss it all out the window. There’s the imminent launch of Intel’s Arc graphics cards which will add millions more units to the market. It will be interesting to see just how much market share Intel can take from Nvidia and AMD. A lot will depend on their relative performance and pricing. 

We also don’t have a firm idea of just how much remaining appetite there is for mining purchases. Mining demand seems to be lessening. It’s definitely becoming more and more difficult to recoup the costs of outlays thanks to Ethereum’s (slowly) approaching move away from energy intensive proof of work mining to proof of stake.

GPU prices are still elevated and until PoW mining goes away, pricing is likely to remain inflated. Thankfully, the big ramp up in GPU production over the course of 2021 seems to have alleviated the worst of the price gouging. it took long enough though!

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