PC sales have reversed the decline seen over the past several years of tablet popularity, while workstation sales have reached $7 billion and are expected to climb to more than $9 billion within the next couple of years. Meanwhile, gaming machines are growing by 39 percent. What does all this add up to? There's a growing need for better graphics performance and more powerful CPUs. Until recently, Nvidia (as well as AMD) have effectively made Intel feel like an un-favored, red-headed stepchild. Is that changing?
Performance Testing: Intel Versus Nvidia
In recent performance testing, which pitted the Intel 3.7 GHZ E3-1245 V3 CPU directly against its class-equal, the Nvidia Quadro K600 AIB, the two came out more or less equally, with Intel outperforming the Nvidia in some key areas such as superior graphics capabilities and slightly faster processing time (though the times were on par enough that the average user would be unlikely to notice the difference).
In environments running compute-laden CAD software and complex models, every second counts. Will Intel's performance improvements translate directly into improved market shares? Some evidence indicates this is already happening. You can learn about even more new developments in CAD workstation design at Cadalyst.
Market Shares: Intel Versus Nvidia
Recent market analysis shows that there is a slight decline in the overall demand for graphics cards. But most of this is attributed to normal market fluctuations, and doesn't necessarily indicate a permanent decline in the overall market. Intel is blessed with a talented bunch of GPU engineers, and have been for some time.
While AMD's market shares dropped over 18 percent in a single quarter, and Nvidia's fell more than 10 percent, Intel's market share went down less than 8 percent. Much of the support for Intel's products can be attributed to the gaming sector, but the rest is likely a direct result of workstations, as PC demand was down significantly for that same quarter.
As early as last year, some were reporting significant improvements in Intel's products, specifically in the arena of graphics. One of Intel's best moves was incorporating support for OpenCL and OpenGL, both of which are gaining popularity among CAD professionals, as well as graphic artists, animators, and many graphics specialists in the media. Cadalyst is always here with the latest news and reviews involving CAD hardware and software development.
The Future of CAD Workstation Graphics
Is Intel clearly taking hold of the CAD graphics market? Maybe, maybe not. What is clear is that Intel is no longer content to sit on the sidelines while Nvidia and AMD run the show. CAD professionals who depend on workstations to make a living can expect to see better products coming from all of the top manufacturers in the graphics realm as each try to outdo the others in terms of performance and features.
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