3D Graphics Vendors Look Forward To 4Q
Demand for high-end graphics cards will peak in the fourth quarter of this year, driven by the introduction of high-end graphics processor units (GPUs) from Nvidia and ATI Technologies, according to Taiwan graphics card makers. This rise in demand for the high-end segment is expected to drive up graphics card ASPs (average selling prices), the makers believe.
Nvidia launched its flagship G70 GPU, the GeForce 7800 GTX series, in June. ATI is expected to begin volume shipments of its R520 flagship GPU by October. In addition, the makers indicated that an integrated chipset shortage from Intel should also encourage the market to adopt high-end graphics card products.
Pure graphics card players Leadtek Research and Tul suffered sliding product ASPs and losses in the first half of this year, due to higher inventory levels in the second quarter. Ted Chen, CEO of Tul, anticipates that high-end product lines will drive shipments for the fourth quarter of this year.
Tul experienced a pre-tax loss of NT$158 million (US$4.8 million) in the first half of this year, whereas Leadtek had a loss of NT$215 million (US$6.5 million). The two Foxconn-affiliated graphics-card makers had profits during the same period last year, with pre-tax profits of NT$30 million (US$0.91 million) for Tul and NT$46 million (US$1.4 million) in profits for Leadtek.
Drew Henry, General Manager of Nvidia’s Platform Products Division, stated that high-end GPUs will see significant adoption on rising demand for new-generation audio/video 3D applications and the upcoming launch of Viiv PCs based on the Microsoft Window Media Center OS for digital home applications.
According to ATI, the Aero Glass interface of Microsoft’s upcoming Vista OS will encourage users to buy higher-end graphics cards.
Micro-Star International (MSI), whose motherboard and graphics-card division contributes 70% to its current sales, predicts ASPs for its graphics card line will go up on increasing shipments of the high-end segment later this year.
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