The 2014's first quarter market results in the workstation market are described as "cautious and tentative, but still headed in the right direction" by Jon Peddie Research (JPR) senior analysts. Worldwide, the industry shipped approximately 945.8 thousand workstations in the first quarter of 2014. That level corresponds to a sequential decline of 2.7% sequentially but a year-over-year (YoY) increase of 6.2%.
" If we look back over the previous five years, we find that even in periods of general growth, Q1 results were more often down than up, with an average sequential loss of 3.8%. Given that perspective, in combination with the fairly robust 6.2% YoY figure, we're inclined to give the quarter a thumbs-up, albeit a tempered one," explained Alex Herrera senior analyst and the author of the lates JPR workstation report .
The market shares of the "big four" Tier 1 OEMs changed little in the first quarter of 2014. With 39.7% of units sold (basically flat from Q4), HP continues to dominate the workstation market, with #2 Dell at 33.3%. Lenovo and Fujitsu shipped the exact same percentage of units in the first quarter as they did in Q4'13, 12.9% and 3.9%, respectively. JPR estimates the remaining 10.3% of units came from a host of smaller workstation suppliers, including Tier 2 OEMs and system integrators (SIs).
After a long decline in the market, the one-time market leader made a very clear decision in 2012 to recommit itself to the workstation marketplace, Dell is sparking a slow-but-steady comeback. The first quarter continued to show modest but measurable improvement, as Dell hacked a full point of market share out of HP's current lead in the market.
AMD and Nvidia create a virtual duopoly in the market for workstation GPUs (Graphics Processing Units). So far, Nvidia had dominated, and AMD has hung on for minority share. But that situation changed in Q4'13, as AMD began ramping shipments of its custom FirePro cards (the D300, D500, and D700) designed into Apple's recently revamped Mac Pro. Each of Apple's flagship professional machines integrates two FirePro GPUs. As a result, the first quarter of 2014 saw a substantial jump in FirePro volume, pushing AMD's share of the overall workstation GPU market up over five points to 20.6%.
However, Nvidia's Quadro brand continued to account for the lion's share of the market, with 78.8% of all units shipped in the quarter. And focusing strictly on GPUs shipping in traditional Windows and Linux workstations, Nvidia and AMD shares in the market appear generally unchanged. Pulling FirePro shipments to Apple out of the equation, Herrera estimates Nvidia shipped around 82.8% of the professional GPUs into workstations, while AMD contributed about 16.5%.