Market for combined CPUs and GPUs on the rise

Graphics-enabled microprocessors are expected to reach record highs this year with GEM penetration in notebook PCs set to reach 50 percent, and 45 percent for desktops.

This represents an impressive 11 percent increase for notebooks in the use of chips which incorporate both the CPU and graphics processing in one place.

This is up from last year’s figure of 39 percent, meaning that combined computer and graphics processing chips are expected to be seen in 115 million of the 230 million notebooks shipped this year.

Desktops are expected to see a jump of nine percent this year, up from 36 percent last year, with IHS iSuppli claiming this is due to a resurgence in desktop PC shipments in 2010 thanks to “strong corporate replacement demand, with GEM-equipped desktops to pass the 63 million mark this year.

Furthermore it is expect that this rise will increase until GEMs account for 83 percent of all notebooks and 76 percent of desktops by 2014 as the trend for combined processors continues to draw consumer attention.

“With GEMs capable of generating the total graphic output of a PC, no additional graphics processor or add-in graphics card is needed,” said Peter Lin, principal analyst for compute platforms at HIS

“Computers today are serving up ever-richer multimedia experiences, so the graphics capabilities of PCs have become more important, driving the rising penetration of GEMs.”

Both Intel and AMD are continuing to push their own take on GEMs with Intel’s now fixed second-gen Sandy Bridge processors and AMD’s APUs for example focusing on the benefits of both processors on just one piece of silicon.

Of course despite the rise in popularity of GEMs, which offer a range of benefits including reduced power consumption, the market for high-end enthusiast graphics cards in discrete form will continue to remain popular for more graphic intensive applications.

Essentially, as the iSuppli figures show, GEMs will be used to meet the requirements of the mass PC market, at the mainstream and value ends of the spectrum.

According to the IHS iSuppli there will be some “cannibalisation of the discrete graphics market” due to the rise in popularity of GEMs, however it is not expected to be significant in the “short to medium term”.

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Notebook PC 39% 50% 65% 76% 83%
Desktop PC 36% 45% 58% 69% 76%