Despite AMD’s resurgence in the CPU market, Nvidia still holds all the cards when it comes to the discrete GPU market. This is according to a report by Research Jon Peddie it also showed an overall 3.4% increase in GPU shipments year over year.
From Q2 2020 to Q2 2021, AMD lost around 3% market share while Nvidia gained 3% in the same period. Nvidia also continues to maintain the overwhelming share of the discrete GPU market with 83% versus 17% for AMD. Regarding the entire GPU market, Intel technically holds the overall GPU crown with a 68% market share compared to 16% for Nvidia and 15% for AMD. This is simply due to the fact that most Intel processors contain an integrated GPU.
The most interesting story, however, is AMD’s slight decline in the discrete GPU market. AMD’s CPU-side Ryzen platform catapulted her inside strike distance from Intel. The company’s intelligent architecture engineering and the move to a 7nm process has seen it claim the crown for value for some time now. However, this savvy engineering does not seem to have translated to the GPU side yet.
AMD introduced its FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) as an alternative to Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) upscaling technique. FSR renders a game lower than native resolution and performs “edge reconstruction” to increase the scale of the image. Next are sharpening, tone mapping, and anti-aliasing. In contrast, Nvidia’s DLSS uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning executed on dedicated Tensor cores on its RTX cards to reconstruct the image with greater fidelity. FSR is certainly competitive, but is still outclassed by DLSS in image quality.
Nvidia has been able to shape the AI DLSS model for years, giving it a competitive edge. In contrast, AMD’s FSR uses an older upscaling algorithm. Nvidia also wins the numbers game with its cards. Nvidia’s Turing line was first released in September 2018 and already had hardware-based ray tracing capability. DLSS supplemented ray tracing by allowing games to maintain playable frame rates while maintaining high resolution. Combined with the release of Ampere cards in 2020, this gives Nvidia four years and two generations to improve its technology.
Nvidia’s massive advance in terms of market share allows it to convince developers to support its proprietary technologies such as DLSS. As a result, many other great AAA games support DLSS despite the growing support for FSR.
We don’t know how important factors like DLSS or even RTX ray tracing are to potential buyers, but for now, Nvidia is still ahead of the game.
There is no doubt that the pandemic has taken its toll on the GPU market. Chip shortages combined with overwhelming demand and price hikes have made it nearly impossible for many people to get their hands on new graphics cards. This has led many would-be PC builders to turn to prebuilt gaming desktops and laptops instead.
Gaming laptops heavily pack Nvidia discrete GPUs, with only a few offering AMD discrete GPUs. There are a few great budget options that use one of AMD’s Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) with integrated Vega graphics. On the desktop side, manufacturers and online suppliers offer Nvidia GPUs on most SKUs. In this way, the difficulty of buying graphics cards plays more to the advantage of Nvidia in laptops.
While AMD has made great strides in the performance of its discrete GPUs compared to Nvidia, its biggest advantage remains the console market. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S / X both come with Zen 2 processors with RDNA2 GPUs. While Nvidia has the numbers in the PC market, AMD’s monopoly in the next-gen console market means it will be able to convince developers to implement AMD-specific technologies such as FSR on consoles. .
AMD’s success in the console market could lead to a sort of “halo effect” that would influence the sale of its discrete cards. Both the Xbox Series X and the PS5 have shown remarkable performance gains considering their price points compared to gaming PCs. Even then, Valve’s Steam Deck is running PC games on an APU similar to that of consoles.
Shortages and scalpers aside, competition between Nvidia, AMD and now Intel can only bring good news to gamers. We’ll have to see if the release of Intel’s Arc Alchemist graphics card offers consumers another choice, and if AMD can come back.