The impact Bitcoin, Ethereum and other coin miners is important when it comes to GPU shipments, a research firm says.
According to the latest report from Jon Peddie Research on the GPUs used in PCs, Q2 GPU shipments were remarkably high. For the first time in over 20 years, Q2 has seen an increase in shipments.
There was a similar uptick in GPU sales for Bitcoin and Litcoin mining 2013. It drove up sales of GPUs and especially AMD GPUs because of AMD's GCN architecture favored mining. Low cost application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) were then employed to do the job and that boom went bust, much to the relief of gamers looking for better deals on GPUs. Bitcoin miners who had built large GPU structures for mining, dumped their AIBs on eBay, cannibalizing the GPU market for a couple of quarters. Due to the architecture of Ethereum, that won't happen, JPR estimates.
Ethereum uses a different hashing algorithm to Bitcoin, which makes it incompatible with the special hashing hardware, ASICs, developed for Bitcoin mining. Ethereum's algorithm is known as Ethash. It's a memory-hard algorithm; meaning it's designed to resist the development of Ethereum-mining ASICs. Instead, Ethash is deliberately best-suited to GPU-mining.
As long as Bitcoin process keep going up, new people will be attracted to the mining market. It will eventually flatten out because the ROI just won't be there. At that point AIB sales for mining will roll off, and we may even see some dumping by the marginal players/miners. And there still is the social issue of what kinds of transactions the miners are verifying.
Quick highlights for Q2
- AMD's overall unit shipments increased 7.81% quarter-to-quarter, Intel's total shipments increased 6.31% from last quarter, and Nvidia's increased 10.42%.
The attach rate of GPUs (includes integrated and discrete GPUs) to PCs for the quarter was 146% which was up 9.57% from last quarter.
- Discrete GPUs were in 35.38% of PCs, which is up 4.02%.
- The overall PC market increase 0.12% quarter-to-quarter, and decrease -3.98% year-to-year.
- Desktop graphics add-in boards (AIBs) that use discrete GPUs increased 30.88% from last quarter.
- Q2'17 saw a decrease in tablet shipments from last quarter.
The quarter in general
- AMD's shipments of desktop heterogeneous GPU/CPUs, i.e., APUs, for desktops decreased -22.2% from the previous quarter. AMD's APU shipments were down -18.8% in notebooks. Desktop discrete GPUs decreased -34.6% from last quarter, and notebook discrete shipments decreased -16.0%. AMD's total PC graphics shipments decreased -24.8% from the previous quarter.
- Intel's desktop processor embedded graphics (EPGs) shipments decreased from last quarter by -10.5% and notebook processors decreased by -8.0%, and total PC graphics shipments decreased -13.9% from last quarter.
- Nvidia's desktop discrete GPU shipments were down -27.8% from last quarter; and the company's notebook discrete GPU shipments decreased -23.0%, and total PC graphics shipments decreased -25.6% from last quarter.
- Total discrete GPUs (desktop and notebook) shipments for the industry decreased -25.5% from the last quarter, and decreased -6.0% from last year. Sales of discrete GPUs fluctuate due to a variety of factors (timing, memory pricing, etc.), new product introductions, and the influence of integrated graphics. Overall, the CAGR from 2014 to 2017 is now -9%.