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PC chip shipments hit record high in Q4 '07

Posted: 25 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PC chip revenue? microprocessor? mobile processor?

Global shipments of PC microprocessors set a record in Q4 2007 with stable ASPs driving overall revenue up, according to market research firm IDC.

Shipments grew 8.5 percent sequentially in Q4 to reach a record level for the second quarter in a row, IDC said. Growth in shipments coupled with stable ASPs drove market revenue up 9.6 percent sequentially to $8.7 billion.

Market shares of Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Intel Corp. didn't change significantly from Q3, IDC said. Intel held a 76.7 percent share, a gain of 0.4 percent, and AMD had a 23.1 percent share, a loss of 0.4 percent. These shares were identical to those in Q2 of 2007.

Shipments of server processors stood out in Q4, increasing 17 percent sequentially, IDC said. Shipments of mobile processors, such as those found in notebooks and tablet PCs, grew 10.3 percent, while desktop PC chips rose 6.5 percent.

The firm also found that the percentage of high-end and mainstream processors shipped grew at the expense of low-end chips. In the desktop segment, for example, high-end and mainstream processors accounted for 87.1 percent of processors shipped, an increase of 2.5 percent over the third quarter.

IDC also noted that ASPs were stable in Q4 because shipments of server and mobile processors, which carry a premium over desktop chips, grew at a faster rate. In addition, shipments of high-end and mainstream chips grew faster than low-end products. Sales of the latter depend more on low prices.

Aggressive pricing
IDC attributed the sales of higher-end products to the "aggressive pricing at which suppliers introduced new products in Q2 '07 combined with the demand for more robust PC configurations necessary to support Windows Vista," Shane Rau, director of semiconductors for personal computing research at IDC, said in a statement.

"As the year progressed into Q4 '07, the pricing drew in more buyers who wanted these relatively high-end products to support this operating system," Rau said.

For the full year, PC processor shipments increased 12.6 percent over 2006, and revenue grew 1.7 percent to $30.55 billion, IDC said. The disparity between the two percentages reflected the price drops that occurred early in 2007.

For the first half of this year, IDC issued what it called a "conservative forecast" for PC processor demand. "While processor shipments typically decline about 6 percent to 7 percent between Q4 and Q1, economic concerns in the United States and the effects on corporate and consumer systems purchases could mean a stronger sequential decline in Q1 '08," Rau said. "However, the weakness in the U.S. dollar effectively means a price discount for overseas markets that are driving PC unit demand, so this could have a mitigating effect."

IDC expects shipments of mobile processors to continue on a double-digit growth track for 2008. Shipments of these processors are expected to surpass those for desktops in 2009, IDC said.

- Antone Gonsalves

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