The first quarter of 2021 was a time for growth for most players in the computer hardware industry. Both NVIDIA and AMD logged in record quarters in the gaming and data center segments, with smartphone chipmakers MediaTek and Qualcomm also reporting a stellar Q1. Looking at the list of top ten fabless IC makers, Qualcomm retained the first spot with YoY revenue growth of 53.2%, pushing its quarterly revenue over the $6 billion mark. NVIDIA comes in second (overtaking) Broadcom with a YoY growth of 75.6%, increasing its quarterly earnings to over $5 billion for the first time ever.
The largest gain, however, was reported by AMD which went from just under $1.8 billion in the first quarter of 2020 to $3.45 billion in the last. That’s a yearly increase of nearly 93% in revenue. Broadcom had a luke-warm quarter, with its revenue seeing a mild growth of 19% YoY. Taiwanese chipmaker and Qualcomm’s primary rival MediaTek also had a phenomenal quarter, with its quarterly revenue growing by 88% compared to the first quarter of 2020.
The coming quarters are going to be less certain for all four chipmakers. The worsening of the pandemic in India is expected to cause a dip in the sales of smartphones for Chinese chipmakers, impacting the revenues of both Qualcomm and MediaTek. For NVIDIA and AMD, the recent fall in the prices of Bitcoin and Ethereum might spell the end of this year’s crypto boom.
Although the aftermath is going to be much less severe than the previous one in 2019-19, it will most likely hurt the sales of consumer graphics cards and mining processors across the board.