AMD’s star has been ascending lately, and the evidence isn’t just found in the company’s improving balance sheets. According to a new report released by AMD in partnership with Mercury Research, the firm gained market share across all major segments: Server, desktop, and notebook.
AMD’s largest gains have been in notebook, which makes sense, given that the company’s Ryzen 4000 series has been a brand-new competitive solution in 2020. AMD began to compete more effectively on desktop several years ago and has been steadily gaining market share in that space ever since.
According to data from Mercury Research, AMD also gained market share in servers, but the size of the gain depends on whether you include data from Intel’s Atom SoC division. “AMD gained server share by either measure, but if you compared AMD EPYC v. just Intel Xeon SP, the number would be about 12.1 percent v. 10.4 percent last quarter, which is a pretty strong gain,” Mercury Research analyst Dean McCarron told THG. “With Intel’s high Atom SoC growth included, though, the share gain is much smaller at 0.8 points.”
AMD did not provide figures on its own estimates for server market share growth in the quarter, saying: “AMD utilizes a server-specific TAM of roughly 20 million CPUs, based on IDC data. We will update our x86 server share once IDC Q3 2020 data is available.”
The best news for AMD is that its ASPs have been rising right alongside its absolute market share. When Intel published its own results for Q3 2020, the company noted that its ASPs had declined on all fronts:
Intel has historically bent over backward to avoid acknowledging that it faces competition in the CPU market, though CEO Bob Swan has acknowledged that his firm faced a threat from AMD in the past. The downward pressure on Intel ASPs is a general sign of improved competitive standing from AMD across the market, though Intel ascribed the shift to increased sales of its entry-level education platforms in Q3 2020. This would be an overall reference to the Chromebook market, which has exploded this year. It’s also relevant that Intel is meeting more demand in that space, since the company’s previous model for dealing with its CPU shortages was to push low-margin equipment off the stack first, ceding that share to AMD, while keeping a preferential position at the top of the market. The surge in Chromebooks has been large enough that Intel has likely been shipping more hardware into that space as well.
Looking ahead, Intel intends to launch Rocket Lake towards the tail end of Q1 2021. Estimated performance uplift for RKL over SKL is unknown, but the chip is a 14nm version of Intel’s 10nm Sunny Cove CPU. Total performance improvements over SKL should be in the 1.15x – 1.2x range when chips eventually launch, depending on whether Intel is able to maintain its full 14nm clock speeds.
AMD launches its new lineup of Zen 3 CPUs later this week, with a 1.19x IPC uplift and claimed improvements north of 1.25x when clock speeds gains are taken into account.
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