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Apple conquers the highflyer charts in the Christmas season, AMD not backing down and Nintendo also finds its way under the Christmas tree.
Karlsruhe, 21/01/20. The highflyer charts in the fourth quarter of 2019 were taken by storm by Apple. Following the Lenovo ThinkCentre M720q Tiny in 1st place, only products featuring the logo of the apple with a bite out of it are to be found up to 7th place. The strategy of sending the 10” iPad tablet, which is very much consumer oriented, into the market during the Christmas season has seemingly been a success. It has been well received by the merchants, and has progressed to 2nd place under the newcomers. Also flying high in the ranking are the wireless in-ear earphones AirPods Pro in 3rd place, and the Apple Watch Series 5 with GPS in 5th place. For the latter Apple has pulled off its best marketing tricks, as this model is almost completely the same as the Apple Watch Series 4, which was silently taken off sale following the new release. The price of the black iPhone 11 with 64 GB also became more attractive for Christmas, coming on sale with a wholesale price of around €660. Outlier price-wise in the Top 10 of the newcomers is the MacBook Pro with Intel Core i9 at a wholesale price of €2,476 and in 6th place. Apart from the Apple products, the ITscope Market Barometer for the Christmas season also included several other surprises.
Already mentioned above was the Lenovo ThinkCentre M720q Tiny in 1st place. Appropriately named “Tiny”, the mini-PC has only been listed since August 2019, and in spite of compact dimensions of 18 x 18 x 4 cm, the Intel Core i5-9400T of the newest generation (with 1.8 GHz) and 8 GB RAM give it enough power that it will not leave wanting under normal applications in the workplace. HP introducing a similar model, with a clock rate of 2.2 GHz, did not appear to influence the success of the Lenovo among the merchants.
Back to the stylish AirPods Pro in 3rd place in the headsets category. After a long time, these finally constitute another real innovation in the Apple universe, being packed full of intelligent technology. This starts with the active noise cancellation. Microphones on the outside record the surrounding noises 200 times a second, and almost completely suppress the ambient noise by giving out counter-impulses. Dampening the enthusiasm for these new earphones were delivery problems. Even after Christmas, it is still difficult for merchants to get hold of the Apple AirPods Pro. Apple itself wants to resume sales of the in-ear earphones only in February. According to mobilFlip, a Chinese analyst well connected with suppliers is expecting the balance of supply and demand to remain tense in the first two quarters of 2020, potentially only to be eased by engaging a second manufacturer in the production.
8th place after the cluster of Apple products is the Ryzen 9 3950X, with 3.5 GHz clock speed. AMD is continuing their winning streak in the CPU category and within the newcomers – this time with an impressive 16 cores in the same space, thanks to the 7nm technology. The processor was released in November, and again sets completely new standards in the CPU world. Getting 16 cores into an architecture comprised of only seven nanometers (nm), is frankly trailblazing. To achieve a comparable performance, in the past a much larger CPU would have had to be used. This would not have been mountable on motherboards with an AM4-socket, and would have incurred high additional costs. Also, the Ryzen 9 3950X is compatible with PCI Express 4.0. Neither the old top model AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX, nor an Intel CPU can offer this. The disadvantage, though, is a noticeably higher power consumption when compared to older models and products from Intel. Additionally, prices are sinking due to the good availability, which is not likely to prove popular with some merchants. On a side note, AMD just announced the Threadripper 3990X at the CES 2020 in Las Vegas. Here, the long-time Intel challenger is aiming for the professional segment, which was so far mainly occupied by the much more expensive XEON processors. In some benchmarks, the 3990X from AMD even scored higher than the Intel flagship, despite being one fifth of the price (around $4,000 compared to $20,000).
The TFT-category has made it to 10th place with the Samsung Flip 2. Strictly speaking it is less of a monitor, and more a whiteboard, aiming to replace the usual analog, paper flipcharts (hence the name) in boardrooms. Despite, or perhaps because of, a wholesale price of €1,911, the Flip 2 with a 55” UHD touchscreen was able to get over 700 clicks. Other conferencing solutions are indeed much more expensive. Merchants are therefore well-advised to keep the Samsung Flip 2 on their radar for entry level users, especially due to an Office bundle now being included, which was not the case with the previous model. Missing from this product is an integrated webcam for video conferences. Enticing for potential buyers is the easy operation using a stylus or finger, with a latency of only 6.8 milliseconds.
In 11th place of the highflyer charts was once again a docking station, provided this time by HP with the HP USB-C Dock G5. In the last Market Barometer, Dell occupied this place with the Dock WD19, especially due to the modular power supply of up to 210 W. With the USB-C Dock G5, HP is betting on space saving and a modern look. Measuring only 12 x 12 cm, the docking station offers a variety of interfaces which cannot be missed. These include two USB-A 3.0, two DisplayPort, one HDMI 2.0, one RJ45 – i.e. Ethernet- port and a USB-C port. The compact design requires compromises though, with the docking station only being able to charge notebooks at up to 100 W. This is compensated, however, by the fact that it supports a 4K-resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels.
12th place is much less suited for office environments than the previously mentioned highflyers, having been more fitting as a present for underneath the Christmas tree. This is in reference to the gaming console Nintendo Switch, a device that also became a retail and e-tail hit in the Cyber Week around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The Nintendo Switch sets itself apart through the modular design: as a hybrid, the Wii U successor can be used in a fixed position with an external screen, or stand-alone for portable gaming. Removable control elements named “Joy-Con” allow players a third option, to play in the so-called table mode.
Last but not least, 24th place was literally taken by a highflyer. Referred to as a multicopter or “Active Drone”, the DJI Mavic Mini in the Fly More Combo comes with three batteries and three replacement rotors. This variant of the drone is brand new, and ships from the end of January 2020. The interest in this product in the run-up to the shipping date is massive. The new model from the long established drone manufacturer DJI is similar to the big brother, the Mavic, yet it is much more compact. Folded together, the ready-to-fly drone is smaller than an iPhone XR, whilst also having a weight of only 249 g. This weight was not chosen randomly, as it falls just one gram short of the EU weight limit above which there is a legal obligation to register the drone. A cunning move, as DJI is enticing beginners that would otherwise refrain from asking for such a device for Christmas, or hesitate to buy one themselves. If the multicopter was to weigh 2 kg, the operator would be required to have a flying licence. Above 5 kg, drone pilots need to have a flying permit. One of the special features of the Mavic Mini is a 12 megapixel camera with a 2.7K resolution (2,720 x 1,530 pixels). As with the previous model, image stabilisation is provided in the form of a gimbal. Functions for professional users, such as RAW footage and automatic obstacle recognition, are missing from this model. The flight time on one battery charge is stated as being an impressive 30 minutes. Live pictures can be viewed on a connected smartphone, which also functions as a remote control with the corresponding app. Included are several presets, allowing users to experiment with different drone flight paths.
TFT displays: Dell in front of HP again
In the TFT display area the ongoing battle between the PC giants Dell, HP and Lenovo is ongoing. Established brands such as Samsung, LG, BenQ and co. are being left behind, but are starting to gain ground again. Having been listed since 2018, the Dell P2419H overtook the HP Elitedisplay in 1st place – with a clear lead of 2,000 clicks. At a wholesale price of €128, the Dell monitor in Top 5 is the least expensive in the 24” segment and is also among the cheapest models in the Top 15 of the ITscope ranking for Q4 2019. With an extremely thin frame and flat foot, the new Dell series is extremely stylish and entices with a very good screen quality.
Having had seven devices in the Top 15 in the third quarter, Dell now only has five, but the company from the US is sending more TFT displays into the ITscope race. HP managed to score four displays in the Top 15, including 2nd and 3rd place, Lenovo and Samsung each have two, and BenQ only has one.
There was no real movement this time round, when considering the Top 25. Worthy of attention is the Samsung Flip 2, mentioned as a highflyer. The 55” and 65” models Flip 2 WM55R and Flip 2 WM65R can be found in 27th and 28th place respectively. These devices are interactive whiteboards, or electronic flipcharts, with UHD or 4K resolution. They have only been listed on ITscope since August 2019, and have been released onto the market as a solution for meeting rooms at comparably cheap prices of around €1,600 and €1,850. Also interesting to note is that the LG 27UL850 in 26th place is one of only a few dedicated monitors in the Top 30 that also features a 4K resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels.
Mobile phones: Apple remains dominant brand
In contrast to the third quarter, during which Samsung was the one to watch, Apple once again dominated the mobile phone scene in the fourth quarter ITscope Market Barometer. In 1st place is once more the iPhone XR with 64 GB in black, again followed by the iPhone 8 in second place, also with 64 GB.
The iPhone 11 made a big leap forwards, progressing from 37th place to 3rd place. This place was previously occupied by the Samsung Galaxy S10 with O2, which moved down two places to 5th place. Fourth place was secured by the iPhone 11 Pro, despite it having a wholesale price of around €1,079. For this, it boasts 256 GB of storage. The Galaxy S10e, which ranked 11th place in the previous quarter, slipped down to 17th place and is therefore no longer in the Top 15.
The Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4s Enterprise Edition with 32 GB is again quite the surprise. The device moved up a further five places into 7th place. It is therefore evidently not a one hit wonder. The Samsung Galaxy A40 mit 64 GB, in contrast, fell three positions into 8th place.
Apart from that, only Apple is to be seen in the Top 10. The Mac company warmed up for this with the new releases in autumn. Other than the two top brands, only Huawei was able to sneak into the Top 20 with the P30 Pro in 18th place.
Tablets: Microsoft beats Apple again
Strategically clever, Apple released the one or other consumer device into the year-end quarter and profited with this in the ITscope race in the tablet category. But as the saying goes; business first. In the business sector Microsoft is now ahead in the mid-range with the Surface Pro 6 with a Core i5-8350U, 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage. As devices for professional use, these Surface models are generally very popular with system vendors, and these are the focus of the Market Barometer after all.
Worth noting is Microsoft’s pricing structure for the new class-best. At a wholesale price of just under €1,000, on the one side it is greatly above the consumer tablets such as the 7th generation iPad with 10,2” Display released in September 2019 in 2nd place, which has a wholesale price of only €300. On the other hand, the Surface Pro 6 ist still less expensive than the comparable device from Apple, the iPad Pro, which has a wholesale price of almost €200 more. Despite this the iPad Pro was able to advance from 13th to 4th place, but not as significantly as the mentioned consumer oriented 10” iPad Model in 2nd place, which made the leap from 89th position from the previous quarter. The winner of the previous quarter, the iPad mit 9,7-Zoll-Display, 32 GB und 2,4-GHz-Prozessor fell to 16th place after flying high in the previous year.
Proving an immediate hit have been two iPads with a 10.2” display, WiFi and 128 GB storage: the iPad with model number MW772FD/A shot up from 126th to 6th place, and the iPad with model number MW6E2FD/A improved from 158th to 13th place. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A from 2019 with a 10,1-inch display and 32 GB storage slid from 5th to 8th place. The previous model from 2018 gained ground from 20th to 11th place though, which shows that the demand for these devices at bargain prices of below €200 are still popular with consumers and the system vendors.
Notebooks: Lenovo E590 far ahead
In the laptops category, the fourth quarter of 2019 was also interesting to follow. The Lenovo ThinkPad E590 remains the indisputable champion, with a huge lead at 10,000 clicks, which is 7,500 more than the HP ProBook 450 G6 in second place. Both models are equipped with a 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5, a 15.6-inch display and a 256 GB SSD. The ThinkPad has been listed since January 2019, but it started its home run in the ITscope ranking last August.
The mentioned business equipment surely contributed to this success, although the ProBook from HP did not achieve similar click rates. The price was probably not the deciding factor, as the wholesale prices of €624 and €645 respectively are almost the same. Both laptops also come with Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit and 8 GB RAM. One difference is the remnants of the IBM halo and the earlier release date, leading to merchant hearts beating higher for the Lenovo.
Following the two leaders are four further HP laptops up to 6th place, especially slightly older models with more power, such as the HP ProBook 470 G5, which leaped from 22nd to 5th place and features a Core i7 processor with 1.8 GHz. The HP 250 G7 (G7 as in 7th generation) with a Core i3 processor improved by two places to 3rd place.
Remaining strong on 4th place is the HP ProBook 470 G5 with a 17.3-inch display. The only other players in the Top 15 are Microsoft with two Surface Book 2 in 10th and 11th place, and Apple with the newly released MacBook Pro mit Touch Bar, a 2.3 GHz Core i9 and MacOS Catalina 10.15. The MacBook also offers 16 GB RAM and a 1 TB SSD, and as an absolute newcomer managed to land 13th place. This spec comes with a price: the wholesale price of €2,476 is quite high for a device with a 16-inch display. As it was only listed since November 2019 and barely had time to gather clicks, it may land in the Top 3 in future rankings. If the price becomes slightly more moderate, then this is likely to happen.
PC systems: Lenovo flying high
In the PC systems category, the Lenovo ThinkCentre M720q 10T7 Tiny catapulted from 69th to 1st place. This compact office computer has only been listed since August 2019, but with around 3,500 clicks in the ITscope Market Barometer (Q4 2019) it has managed to differentiate itself from the Dell OptiPlex 3060 Micro Tower and the HP ProDesk 400 G5.
Both of these competitors are almost on the same level with 2,585 and 2,584 clicks respectively, and landed 2nd and 3rd place. This is despite being similarly compact and equipped as the ThinkCentre M720q 10T7 leading the ranking.
The Lenovo packs a 1.8 GHz clocked Intel Core i5 9400T, 8 GB RAM and an SSD with 256 GB storage. Although the mentioned Core i5 processor belongs to the newest generation, it is nominally slightly less powerful than in the HP model, which has an i5 9500 with a clock speed of 2.2 GHz. This did not seem to impact on the Lenovo’s popularity amongst the merchants.
The Dell OptiPlex 3060, in 2nd place, can be seen as the direct competitor of the new ranking leader, and brings a Core i5 8500 of the previous generation with 2.1 GHz. It is, however, slightly less expensive at a wholesale price of €505, compared to the Lenovo’s €541. Apart from Intel, the small PC kann also be equipped with a CPU from AMD, which gives merchants new options.
The most impressive improvement of the season in the PC systems category was made by the HP ProDesk 400 G6 micro tower, with 8 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD. It has only been listed since August 2019 and catapulted from 156th to 4th place. The Intel Core i5 8500 built into this model has a clock speed of 3 GHz. As this is a CPU of the previous generation, it comes with a decent wholesale price of €529, possibly the explaining factor for the steep rise in merchant popularity.
Another immediate success worth noting involves Fujitsu Technology Solutions. After the company took a blow following the closure of the manufacturing facility in Augsburg, Fujitsu was able to land a PC in the Top 15 with the Esprimo P558 in the Value-for-you edition, having been released in the summer of 2019 and including a 2.9 GHz clocked Core i5 9400, ranked in 15th place. Before, the mini PC was treading water in 347th place.
Graphics cards: PNY takes the lead
Unchanged in 1st place of the graphics cards is the PNY Quadro P2000 with 5 GB GDDR5. This board has been listed since February 2017, and belongs to the oldtimers amongst the boards.
Two-and-a-half years later, in July 2019, the MSI RTX 2070 SUPER VENTUS OC with 8 GB GDDR6 followed. It quickly gained the merchant’s trust as a performance allrounder, and improved from 14th to 2nd place of the ITscope Market Barometer. Reasons for this success surely include the computing power for Raytracing in real-time, the built-in artificial intelligence and the programmable shading. With these features, the MSI board is positioned in the midrange of the market with a wholesale price of €625.
Raytracing is a rendering process used in film technology to trace light rays; shading describes the shading of objects in 3D computer graphics.
Motherboards: MSI on the way up
In the category of the motherboards, also referred to as mainboards, the winner from both previous quartals, the ASUS PRIME Z390-A, slid down to 3rd place. After only ASUS and Gigabyte were to be found in the four top places last quarter, there is now also a third player.
This time round, MSI managed to come first with the ATX-board MSI Z390-A PRO with LGA 1151, listed in Autumn of 2018 and ranked 9th in the previous ranking. In 2nd place is another product from MSI, with the MSI MPG Z390 GAMING PLUS, which is one month older than the new ranking leader and was previously less of a success with a 66th place. Gaming is traditionally the hot topic from the Christmas season, that normally stays in demand until the end of January due to money gifts from Christmas. This trend is normally reflected in the ITscope Market Barometer for the first quarter of the year.
Also profiting from this gaming tide is the MSI MPG Z390 GAMING PRO CARBON, having jumped from 27th to 5th place, and belonging to the upper midrange with a wholesale price of €170. According to the advertising, this board has been inspired by the aesthetics of supercars, and it promises more power thanks to MSI Mystic Light and features such as Core Boost, DDR4 Boost and the M.2 Shield Frozr. With an LGA socket, it supports Intel processors of the eighth and ninth generation as well as DDR4 clock speed of up to 4,400 MHz.
Key selling points include two Turbo M.2, more cooling area to prevent overheating and thermal throttling, Game Boost and Audi Boost 4 with NAHIMIC 3 for more sound. The MSI board also features a Flash BIOS Button, which allows the BIOS to be easily flashed using a USB stick. Flashing is technical jargon for loading firmware onto the motherboard.
Apart from the gaming board from MSI, Gigabyte is ahead when considering motherboards listed since 2019. This starts with the Micro-ATX-Board Gigabyte B365M DS3H with an LGA 1151 socket, which leaped from 216th to 7th place. 9th and 10th place are occupied by two further newcomers from Gigabyte, while the next MSI board is only to be seen in 12th place: the AMD, or AM4 board, MSI B450M PRO-VDH MAX has only been listed since August and already made good progress from a previous 147th place.
Processors: Intel and AMD head-to-head
In the CPU world, for a long time AMD was the runner-up behind Intel, barely getting a foot in the door. Now, though, the tables have turned and it seems more like Intel is chasing AMD. In the ITscope Market Barometer, the trend for around one year has been a head-to-head race between the two rivals.
Nevertheless, AMD had to hand off the top place again, this time only landing eight instead of nine processors in the Top 20. From a technical viewpoint, AMD is still ahead with the 7 nm architecture, as Intel is staying with 10 nm technology for now, meaning less transistors can be built into the same amount of space.
The Intel Core i7 9700K with eight cores and 3.6 GHz, improved from 5th to 1st place and therefore wins the CPU crown. This success can probably also be traced back to the price reductions in November, announced in reaction to AMD’s cut price products in this segment. Now Intel has slightly raised the price again, though.
The previous winner from AMD, the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X with 12 cores and 3.8 GHz clock speed, slid down to 2nd place; and the previously 2nd placed eight core AMD Ryzen 7 3700X with 3.6 GHz went down to 7th place. But this does not impact the Ryzen as the rising star in the CPU category. We are looking forward to further following the duel between the two rivals.
HDDs and SDDs: Samsung’s 860 EVO still ahead
In the mass storage segment, the Samsung 860 EVO is so successful that the Korean brand takes the top two places with two variants: 250 GB (MZ-76E250B/EU) and 500 GB (MZ-76E500B/EU). The Samsung 860 EVO with 1 TB (MZ-76E1T0B) also fared well in 4th place. The only “disruptor” in the front places is the WD Red with 4 TB storage and 5,000 RPM in 3rd place.
As before, Samsung has eight SSDs in the Top 15, Western Digital (WD) has four and Seagate and HPE each have one, leaving one Top 15 place unmentioned. Intel is the newcomer here, in specific with the Intel Solid-State Drive D3-S4510 Series, with 960 GB storage and a 2.5-inch format, having risen from 47th to 13th place. In the rear places of the ITscope Market Barometer Q4 2019, several different variants of this model, with different storage capacities, can be found.
Servers: HPE not leaving much room for competitors
HP Enterprise (HPE) is again dominating the server field. Taking the winners’ podium once more are three HP ProLiant variants of the tenth generation: the HPE ProLiant ML350 and the HPE ProLiant DL380 (both with a XEON Silver 4110 CPU), as well as the base model HPE ProLiant MicroServer with an Opteron.
The HPE ProLiant ML350 Gen10 Base with a XEON Silver 4210, the successor of the first place model, managed the leap into the Top 5, with a 4th place, after landing 18th place in the previous quarter. The difference to the previous model is the marginally higher CPU clock rate of 2.2 GHz, compared to 2.1 GHz, and a higher wholesale price of around €1,675, which is €150 more than the older model.
For the sake of completeness: the Fujitsu PRIMERGY TX1310 M3 with a 3.3 GHz XEON E3 improved by two positions to 8th place, and the Lenovo ThinkSystem ST50 7Y48, as a server tower with four racks and a Xeon E-2124G with a clock rate of 3.4 GHz, even improved from 31st to 12th place. Apart from this, HPE is far and wide the only brand in the server category of the ITscope Market Barometer, up to the 26th position.
Storage: Synology expands on lead
Storage systems are the hot topic in this ITscope Market Barometer. Taiwanese manufacturer Synology continues to be the dominant player, and brings a couple of new products into pole position.
First place is again claimed by the Synology Disk Station DS218+, with 2,088 clicks, a big lead of over 1,200 more clicks than the Synology Disk Station DS918+ in 2nd place. This storage system has been listed since February 2019, but was back in 148th place in the last quarter. It entices as a NAS server with 4 slots SATA 6 Gb/s / eSATA and 4 GB RAM, intriguing at a wholesale price of around €445.
In comparison to this, the DS218+ in 1st place only has two slots, at a wholesale price of €266. However, it is compatible with SSDs of the type M.2 NVMe, which provides a high cache performance. In addition this provides flexibility regarding performance, for example for two parallel live streams in 4K resolution.
While Synology is mainly operating in the NAS server segment, with wholesale prices up to around €500, HPE is clearly aiming for the B2B segment with the HPE Modular Smart Array 2052 SAN and the HPE Modular Smart Array 2050 SAN. The wholesale prices are accordingly steep, at an average of €6,072 and €4,048 respectively. For this, the former takes 24 slots as an array, as well as hard drives with a total capacity of up to 616 TB. The 2052 improved by three places to 11th place, while the 2050 fell by three places to 13th place, but still is a desirable product.
Built into the HPE flagship 2052 are two SSDs, with a combined capacity of 1.6 TB. The advantage over hard drives is a noticeably faster storage access. Merchants are likely to be pleased by the big price reduction, effective for the new year, to a wholesale price of €5,200. This could allow the storage system to gain places in the ITscope ranking. Perhaps this is enough for it to feature in the Top 5 in spring.
Another trailblazer can be found with the Synology RackStation RS820+, as it shot up directly to 14th place having just been released in September 2019. Special features include four 1GbE LAN ports with bundling by link aggregation and a failsafe feature named “Failover”. The almost identical model Synology RackStation RS820RP+, in the variant with a redundant power supply (hence the RP), can be found back in 28th place, but surely has potential to climb some places in the ITscope Market Barometer for the coming quarters.
With both of these devices, each having four slots, Synology seems to be aiming for the professional segment, where up until now the more expensive established brands have been represented. Yet at wholesale prices of around €1000, the Taiwanese manufacturer is offering attractive products for SOHO or B2C applications, making it the brand to watch.
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