Some interesting AMD market share data has emerged in the past few days. A new Mercury research AMD reportedly lost an extra point in the x86 laptop and desktop market in the first quarter of 2021. This is the second time AMD has lost market share compared to Intel.
AMD doesn’t seem to have a demand problem. The company sells every chip it can make. The problem is TSMC cannot keep enough chips in the market to meet demand. This enabled Intel to regain one point of market share, increasing it to 79.3 percent. AMD’s market share has increased 5.9 percentage points since the second quarter of 2020.
Steam tells a different story, however. The Steam Hardware Survey is an incomplete metric. If you install Steam on three computers but only use one for your primary gaming rig, all three will (supposedly) be counted in the final bill. This means that those numbers also include a ton of machines that may only have Steam installed for some very low-end titles. The SHS is an interesting data point, but not the final word for anything.
AMD’s market share has increased year over year, although it has shrunk from the previous quarter. in the April 2020AMD had a market share of 21.71 percent versus 78.28 percent of Intel. Today AMD holds 29.48 percent of the market, compared to 70.51 percent of Intel. That’s a bigger void than we’re seeing in the overall market, and AMD has continued to expand its stake in Steam, although its market share in desktops and laptops has declined slightly over the past two quarters. The fact that we have two distinctly different trends suggests the SHS does Register a different user group as a non-Steam user.
This is also not the first time we’ve seen significant gaps between Steam and non-Steam users. Windows 10 was more popular with Steam players than it was with the public. We can’t say exactly what the SHS is capturing as Valve refuses to explain its metrics or guidelines, but it seems to be showing us something about what gamers are buying these days.
Interesting Fact: The number of high-clock Intel CPUs was going down Low from 2020 from 5.31 percent to 4.98 percent. Desktop sales fell sharply in 2020, while laptop sales boomed. This shift likely reflects the proportionally higher sales of Intel laptop CPUs with slightly lower clock speeds compared to their desktop counterparts.
The number of AMD CPUs with 3.7 GHz or more increased from 4.15 percent to 6.07 percent. This suggests that AMD has had good results in the retail channel for the past 12 months, which is in line with other reports of excellent sales of AMD desktop CPUs.
We also see some interesting moves in the core counts. The number of systems with two CPUs (this probably means physical cores) has fallen sharply, from 19.67 percent to 12.9 percent of the market. This implies that a number of people who were previously using older dual-core Intel mobile chips upgraded in the last year.
Surprisingly, however, the number of quad-core chips Likewise went down. Quad cores still hold the largest market share by volume at 40.98 percent, but that’s a 48.89 percent drop in April 2020. Some of those shifts likely represent new systems built in 2020, not just the upgrade of employees, but a great pair of shifts in just one year.
The big winners? Six-core chips are up 8 percent and eight-core chips are up 6 percent. We can see the impact of Comet Lake’s rollout as the 10-core CPU market share increased from 0.08 percent in April 2020 to 0.61 percent in April 2021. In addition, the acceptance of 12-core CPUs rose from 0.33 percent to 0.96 percent. AMD was able to increase its market share many times over (0.63 percent versus 0.53 percent) and win more buyers overall. Some enthusiasts have switched to AMD on the desktop, and it’s clear that many Intel laptop owners have upgraded.
According to the Steam Hardware Survey, only 1.86 percent of gamers have more than eight CPU cores, but 45 percent of gamers are now playing on six or more CPU cores. If players keep upgrading at the current rate, it won’t be long before developers can treat six cores as a realistic minimum for gaming. Now that consoles support operation up to 8C / 16T, increasing the minimum number of threads developers can expect on PCs makes development easier.
Another place where AMD bucked the general x86 trend was in the server market. AMD’s server market share rose 3.8 percent. This was the biggest quarterly jump for AMD in the market since 2006. In the past, Intel referred to periodic drops in server revenue as ongoing “digestion,” meaning that orders were down while companies focused on installing the equipment, that they had already bought. Given AMD’s big growth in this market, Intel’s problem seems more of a problem in theDigestion. We’ll see if the Ice Lake-SP glacier water rehydrates things now as the chip is shipped in bulk.