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2013 proved to be a good year for the tandem markets for workstations and professional GPUs, reports technology and market research firm, Jon Peddie Research (www.jonpeddie.com). In the fourth quarter, the market continued onward and upward, holding on to the substantial gains of the previous two quarters, closing out a healthy 2013.
Worldwide, the industry shipped approximately 971.6 thousand workstations in the fourth quarter of 2013, essentially flat (-0.2%) from Q3'13 and up 4.0% from the same quarter the year prior. That figure nearly eclipsed the record 1.0 million units the market set back in 2011. Given the quarter was sequentially flat, but exhibited respectable year-over-year (YoY) growth rate (4.0%), the leading workstation and graphics research firm labeled Q4'13 as another positive quarter in the market's steady, albeit unhurried, journey forward.
With growth coming in at a modest but healthy 3% (units), 2013 was the first year since 2007 that the global workstation market behaved more according to historical norms, finally removed from the tumultuous period of 2008 - 2012. JPR senior analyst and Workstation Report author Alex Herrera explains, "Like virtually every other market, workstations suffered through the global recession at the tail end of 2008 and through 2009. Conversely, 2010 and 2011 saw uncharacteristically hot — but unsustainable — growth as the market rebounded. 2012 appeared to pay for that exuberance, seeing a modest decline while the markets appeared to 'digest' previous years' indulgence."
Herrera also sees 2013 as a seminal juncture in the evolution of the workstation market. "We may very well look back at 2013 as the year the workstation and PC markets went their separate ways. For years, as workstations adopted PC technology, and as both platforms were viewed as primary — and indispensable — computing devices, the two markets tended to behave as mirror images. But as alternative computing devices like tablets and smartphones have taken hold to challenge PCs, especially in consumer markets, 2013 changed that paradigm ... such devices pose no serious threat to workstations, and the two markets are no longer marching in unison."