The CPU market shares have been reversed: AMD is number 1 in the industry for desktop PCs, which has not happened (and again, very briefly) for 15 years now. Intel nevertheless maintains a clear leadership in laptops. But for how long?
We have the right to talk about stunning situation. In no time, AMD seems to have woken up and offers more powerful alternatives to Intel processors, consuming less energy and less expensive. And the success is there: the latest figures from the benchmarks application PassMark indicate at the very start of the first quarter of 2021 that AMD now has a 50.8% market share for desktop PCs, compared to 49.2% for Intel.
Such a situation had not occurred for 15 years, and yet, when in the first quarter of 2006 AMD had passed its competitor, it was only a matter of a few months. From the following quarter, Intel widened the gap, and the situation more or less remained the same until the first quarter of 2019, with the launch of new Ryzen processors at very competitive prices. Since then the gap has narrowed considerably, accelerating even with the launch of the latest generation of Ryzen CPUs engraved in 7nm.
AMD reclaims the market, starting with desktop PCs
It must be said that Intel suffers from several handicaps which had hitherto been its strength. The founder has always relied more on performance than on finesse of engraving, autonomy or price. Intel manufactures its own silicon, which involves significant research and development costs, but also and above all delays. Intel is still struggling to deliver 10nm processors even though AMD already sells many 7nm references.
Not to mention the fact that AMD is already developing even finer engraved dies, thanks to TSMC’s new techniques for engraving in 5 nm and even soon in 3 nm. AMD has made the decision to operate without its own production units and outsource all manufacturing to industry leader TSMC – giving it a competitive advantage. In addition to this, AMD is going on the offensive in several sectors, such as graphics cards with the new Radeon RX 6000 GPUs.
Intel can for the moment be consoled by looking at its market share in laptops, since the blue team still enjoys 83.8% against only 16.3% at AMD. However, nothing says that Intel will be able to maintain itself in this segment. With its new M1 Macs, for example, Apple shows that we can make high-performance machines much better off for autonomy by switching to ARM architecture.