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After a surprisingly painful first quarter, stakeholders in the markets for workstations and professional GPUs were looking for far healthier results in Q2'15, along with reassurance the market's fortunes were not following the downward path of the broader PC industry. According to the market and technology research firm, Jon Peddie Research (JPR), they got both, as the industry breathed a collective sigh of relief over a significant rebound in shipment volume. JPR reported that the industry shipped approximately 1.02 million workstations in the second quarter, equating to a gain of 11.5% over Q1 and bringing volume back to Q4'14 levels.
Workstation firm analyst and JPR Workstation Report author Alex Herrera stated, "We've been emphasizing that the workstation market is not subject to the same forces that have been decimating the broader market for PCs, and for several logical reasons. First, as a tool for professionals, the workstation won't be replaced by an alternative device like a phone or tablet, as has been the case in the consumer space. And second, serving demanding customers in need of any and all increases in performance they can get, workstations shouldn't see replacement cycles dragging out further, at least not nearly to the extent they are in mainstream PC markets."
Of course, logical reasons don't add to the corporate coffers nor satisfy management and shareholders. Volume and revenue does, and the industry was anxiously waiting to see if Q2 results would align with the logic, where Q1 certainly did not. Fortunately, the second quarter followed the script with a solid rebound, and the markets now appear set up for a healthy second half of the year, as OEMs and IHVs alike prepare for major product line refreshes in support of Intel's imminent launch of its Skylake platform.
Dell and Lenovo take another small step forward in systems, while Nvidia continues to dominate in workstation GPUs
Market shares for the dominant workstation OEM trio of HP, Dell and Lenovo don't tend to fluctuate a great deal quarter to quarter. A couple of notable trends stand out over the past few years, however. One, Lenovo has seen the most growth, steadily driving up volume, mostly on the back of sales momentum in its home country of China. And two, after a long decline, Dell was able to first stabilize its share and then slowly and steadily gain back some lost ground.
Both trends continued in the second quarter of 2015, with Lenovo posting its highest-ever share of 13.9% in Q2'15. Dell followed suit with its own small step forward to rise to 34.9% its highest level since the close of 2010. Not surprisingly, the gains of #2 Dell and #3 Lenovo have come at the expense of #1 HP, whose share dropped to 38.4%, its lowest level in five years. Fujitsu and Others (aggregating a host of smaller players) rounded out the shipment tally in Q2'15 with 2.9% and 9.9%, respectively.
Meanwhile, the supporting IHV duopoly of Nvidia and AMD shipped around 1.15 million professional GPUs into the workstation space, with the former responsible again for the lion's share of volume, with 80.4% of units shipped in the quarter.
About the JPR Workstation Report
Now in its twelfth year, JPR's Workstation Report - Professional Computing Markets and Technologies has established itself as the essential reference guide for hardware and software vendors and suppliers serving the workstation and professional graphics markets.