The workstation market is not in decline like its PC sibling, according to data released by technology and market research firm, Jon Peddie Research (JPR).
During the third quarter, the industry shipped approximately 973.1 thousand workstations worldwide, marking 3.6% sequential growth in a quarter. That figure nearly eclipsed the record 1.0 million units the market set back in 2011.
"The market for PCs is continuing to decline, feeling the heat from alternative computing devices," explains JPR senior analyst and JPR Workstation Report author Alex Herrera. "Consumers are shifting en masse to tablets and smartphones, and either not replacing PCs as often, or deciding to go without altogether. But that trend is virtually absent in professional applications, where a tablet or smartphone can't possibly substitute for a workstation."
The firm remains bullish on the long-term prospects for professional computing markets, including workstations.
"Professional applications are different," states firm principal Jon Peddie. "The demand on data, computes, and visualization is insatiable. There is no such thing as performance that's 'good enough', so every new generation of computing and rendering technology is readily adopted."
Responsible for 41.9% of units sold, HP maintained its position as the dominant worldwide workstation supplier. Dell accounted for 32.0%, and Fujitsu chipped in 3.7%, most in EMEA and Japan.
While the market fortunes for those three vendors haven't changed much recently, there's a fourth player that's been slowly and steadily making gains in the workstation market: Lenovo. The Chinese vendor accounted for 13.7% of workstation units shipped in the quarter, the highest mark its held since the couple of years following its inheritance of IBM's ThinkPad mobile workstations in 2005.
The professional graphics market, primarily composed of the Nvidia/AMD duopoly, shipped a total of approximately 1.3 million workstation-caliber GPUs in the third quarter, including both mobile modules and deskside add-in cards. Volume represented an impressive year-over-year gain of 19.7%.