Four out of five notebook PCs shipped worldwide in 2014 will employ graphics-enabled microprocessors, up from about one out of three in 2010, as computer makers seek to offer smaller and more innovative products, according to iSuppli Corp.
In 2014, 82.9 percent of notebook PCs will use such microprocessors, up from 39 percent in 2010.
“The booming popularity of products like ultraportable notebooks and Apple Inc.’s iPad has put the spotlight on products with small and innovative form factors,” said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms, for iSuppli. “To develop such products, PC makers are adopting highly integrated semiconductor solutions that use less power and generate less heat, thus allowing smaller form factors. By integrating functions that normally would be implemented in a separate graphics chip, graphics-enabled microprocessors play a key role in aiding this effort.”
Ultra Integration for Ultraportables
The charge toward graphics-enabled microprocessors is being led by ultraportable notebook PCs, with 90 percent penetration in 2014. Such small-form-factor systems benefit greatly from the use of highly integrated semiconductor solutions. Ultraportable PCs represent the fastest-growing segment of the notebook market, with global shipments doubling from 2010 to 2014.
Apple’s iPad also has demonstrated the appeal of a PC-type product that leverages a highly integrated silicon solution to achieve an innovative form factor.
As iSuppli’s teardown analysis revealed, the iPad broke new ground in terms of electronic design, with its focus on the Human Machine Interface (HMI) elements, mainly the touch screen. An important element of this HMI focus was the use of the highly integrated A4 microprocessor, which enabled the design of a system with a minimal space and cost dedicated to core electronics.
Enabled Products will Affect Standalone Chips
Intel Corp. has cornered the market for graphics-enabled microprocessors, with its Core i Series products featuring the companies HD on-chip graphics. iSuppli expects Advanced Micro Devices Inc. to launch graphics-enabled microprocessors in the fourth quarter of 2010 and 2011 time frame.
Rising sales of these microprocessors is expected to have a negative impact on sales of standalone graphics chips, with the worldwide market for discrete graphics devices for PCs declining to shipments of 62 million in 2014, down from 73 million in 2009.
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