A total of 49 percent of notebooks in 2015 will employ quad-core microprocessors, up from 9 percent in 2011. Shipments of quad-core notebooks will total 160 million units in 2015, up by nearly a factor of eight from 21.2 million in 2011.
Shipments of six-core microprocessors also are on the rise, with 18 percent of notebooks shipping with the technology in 2015, up from zero in 2011. Shipments will total 58.9 million units in 2015.
“The cornerstone of PC performance, the microprocessor, is continuing to evolve to provide new levels of performance to the PC market,” said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst of compute platforms for IHS. “For decades, the main focus for increasing microprocessor performance was in the area of clock speed, with suppliers battling to offer parts with the most megahertz or gigahertz. However, the competition now has shifted to the battle over cores, with suppliers racing to offer parts that boost performance by providing greater parallelism. The battle now has moved from the dual-core segment into the quad-core area—and next will spread to the six-core realm.”
Recent product introductions in this area include Intel Corp.’s six-core Core i7-970, as well as Advanced Micro Devices Inc.’s six-core Phenom II X6 processors, with both processors currently aimed at the desktop market.
The rise of multi-core microprocessors illustrates the ongoing march of technology in the PC market, even amid the incredible rise in consumer sales of lower-performance media tablets. The PC industry continues to refine its products by improving performance, refining the design blocks around the system and adding new features.
Along with the move toward higher-performance multi-core designs, notebook PC microprocessors also are evolving to suit mobile lifestyles. Today’s consumers are demanding computers that can be used on the go, all day.
One such evolution is the recently introduced graphics-enabled microprocessor, which places the graphics processor actually on the processor die. While in their early stages today, such microprocessors will be found in excess of 90 percent of notebooks sold in 2015. These chips deliver improved power management of the on-chip graphics unit, although in terms of graphics performance, are not able to outperform standalone graphics processing units used in discrete graphics cards.
IHS iSuppli PC Technology Penetration Research
In addition to the data discussed here, the complete IHS iSuppli PC Technology Penetration report and accompanying database analyzes the penetration of a whole raft of current and future PC technologies. These include multi-core and graphics-enabled processors, ARM-based microprocessors, memory technologies, storage technologies, optical disk drives, display connections, graphics integrated versus discrete, 3-D displays in notebooks, communications, peripheral interfaces and more for both the desktop and notebook platforms.