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AMD Gains CPU Share Amid Biggest Desktop PC Quarterly Decline In History

The Mercury Research CPU market share results are in for the first quarter of 2022, and the results are somewhat dire — Dean McCarron from Mercury reports that aside from IoT/SoC, all segments of the x86 processor market declined during the quarter. Desktop PCs suffered the most as units declined by 30%, the largest quarterly drop in history. That's an incredible reversal after two years of component shortages that kept many PC builders on the sidelines.

Surprisingly, AMD managed to carve out significant wins during the tumultuous quarter and has now, once again, set a new record high x86 market share of 27.7%, an incredible increase of seven percentage points over last year.

Both Intel and AMD suffered from the disturbingly fast decline in the desktop PC market, but AMD didn't lose sales quite as quickly as Intel, resulting in a share gain for the quarter. Notably, much of the decline in desktop PC came as vendors burned through excess CPU inventory, which McCarron says impacted Intel more severely than AMD. As such, Intel still gained some unit share in the desktop PC market compared to a year ago. AMD CEO Lisa Su recently predicted that the company would see a decline in the 'high single-digit' percentage for the desktop PC TAM for the year, indicating that shrinking desktop PC sales could continue.

AMD continued to take big strides in the mobile/laptop market as it set another record for unit share in that segment with 22.5%. AMD also gained in the server market for the 12th consecutive quarter, reaching 11.6% of the market.

We do have to temper the slide of the desktop PC market against the fact that it has been at a decade high over the last several quarters and the overall CPU market had a slew of impressive firsts during the quarter, too, with McCarron saying, "In spite of the downturn, the market saw several records set, including record highs for server processor revenue, IoT/semi-custom units and revenue, and a new record high for combined client (desktop and notebook) CPU average selling prices.

"Lower shipments of low-priced entry-level CPUs and strong ramps of new mobile processors (Alder Lake CPUs for Intel and Barcelo and Rembrandt CPUs cores for AMD) resulted in much higher mobile CPU prices, which helped set the record client (combined desktop and notebook) average selling prices of $138, which were up more than 10 percent on quarter and more than 30 percent on year."

McCarron also brought us up to speed on Arm's incursion into the desktop PC space, which is largely led by Apple, "Our estimate for ARM PC client share (including Chromebooks and Apple's M1 based Macs with X86 desktop and mobile CPUs in the total client size estimate) is 11.3 percent, up from 10.3 percent last quarter and just shy of double the 5.9 percent from a year ago. While Apple's Mac business declined in the first quarter, the downturn was slight compared to the X86 PC market," McCarron said.

You'll find the segment-by-segment breakdowns below with a bit of additional commentary. 

AMD vs. Intel Desktop PC Market Share Q1 2022

via Mercury Research
1Q224Q213Q212Q211Q214Q203Q202Q201Q204Q193Q192Q191Q20194Q183Q182Q181Q184Q173Q172Q171Q174Q163Q16
AMD Desktop Unit Share18.3%16.2%17.0%17.1%19.3%19.3%20.1%19.2%18.6%18.3%18%17.1%17.1%15.8%13%12.3%12.2%12.0%10.9%11.1%11.4%9.9%9.1%
Quarter over Quarter / Year over Year (pp)+2.1 / -1.0-0.8 / -3.1-0.1 / -3.1-2.3 / -2.1+0.1 / +0.7-0.8 / +1.0+0.9 / +2.1+0.6 / +2.1+0.3 / +1.5+0.3 / +2.4+0.9 / +5Flat / +4.8+1.3 / +4.9+2.8 / +3.8+0.7 / +2.1+0.1 / +1.2+0.2 / +0.8+1.1 / +2.1-0.2 / +1.8-0.3 / -+1.5 / -+0.8 / --

The decline in the PC market comes as the pandemic recedes and global economic turmoil and inflation mount. Sluggish CPU sales are exacerbated by seasonal downturns, and all of these factors have conspired to reduce demand for both Intel and AMD.

McCarron reports that excess desktop PC inventory also played a role here, which impacted Intel more than its competitor. AMD has had supply issues with its pricey server CPUs — it sells them as fast as it can make them — so it has prioritized these higher-margin products by curtailing production of its desktop PC chips. As such, it doesn't have as much inventory on hand to burn through, so it didn't lose as much share.

Intel, on the other hand, actually gained one percentage point of share year-over-year, which comes during the first full quarter that it has had its Alder Lake processors, which have taken over our list of Best CPUs for gaming, fully available. 

AMD vs. Intel Notebook / Mobile Market Share Q1 2022

via Mercury Research
1Q224Q213Q212Q211Q214Q203Q202Q201Q20Q4193Q192Q191Q20194Q183Q182Q18
AMD Mobile Unit Share22.5%21.6%22.0%20.0%18.0%19%20.2%19.9%17.1%16.2%14.7%14.1%13.1%12.2%10.9%8.8%
Quarter over Quarter / Year over Year (pp)+0.9 / +4.4-0.4 / +2.6+2.0 / +1.8+1.9 / +0.01-1.0 / +1.1-1.2 / +2.8 +0.3 / +5.5+2.9 / +5.8+0.9 / +3.2+1.5 / +4.0+0.7 / +3.8+1.0 / +5.3+0.9 / ?

The mobile market also receded during the quarter, so both Intel and AMD saw a declining number of units sold. But, again, AMD's declines were smaller, thus resulting in another quarter of share growth. However, this gain also represents an impressive 4.4 percentage point gain year-on-year.

McCarron says that AMD gained significantly in the commercial notebook market, likely helping to shore up its shipments. This quarter represents another record high for AMD's notebook share. However, the battle for notebooks will remain pitched — AMD recently revealed its Zen 4-powered Dragon Range processors coming to market early next year, while Intel recently unveiled its Alder Lake HX-Series chips. Intel and AMD will continue to slug it out in this crucial segment, but the biggest threat for both comes from Apple's M1 processors, as we'll cover in the next table. 

Arm vs x86 Market Share Q1 2022

via Mercury Research
Arm vs x86 Market Share1Q224Q213Q212Q211Q214Q202Q20
Arm Unit Share11.3%10.3% 8.3%~7.0%5.9%3.4%Less than 2%

This accounting of Arm's market share includes Chromebook and Apple's M1-based Macs. McCarron has just begun tracking/sharing these values, so there isn't much historical data yet. Regardless, the implications here are clear: Fueled by Apple's fast-growing business with its M1 CPUs in multiple flavors, Arm is making much faster advances than it did in the past. 

AMD vs. Intel Server Unit Market Share Q1 2022

via Mercury Research
1Q224Q213Q212Q211Q214Q203Q202Q201Q204Q193Q192Q191Q20194Q183Q182Q184Q17
AMD Server Unit Share11.6%10.7%10.2%9.5%8.9%7.1%6.6%5.8%5.1%4.5%4.3%3.4%2.9%3.2%1.6%1.4%0.8%
Quarter over Quarter / Year over Year (pp)+0.9 / +2.7+0.5% / +3.6+0.7 / +3.6+0.6 / +3.7+1.8 / +3.8+0.5 / +2.6 +0.8 / +2.3+0.7 / +2.4+0.6 / 2.2+0.2 / +1.4+0.9 / +2.7+0.5 / +2.0-0.3 / -+1.6 / 2.4+0.2 / -

AMD bases its server share projections on IDC's forecasts but only accounts for the single- and dual-socket market, which eliminates four-socket (and beyond) servers, networking infrastructure and Xeon D's (edge). As such, Mercury's numbers differ from the numbers cited by AMD, which predict a higher market share. Here is AMD's comment on the matter: "Mercury Research captures all x86 server-class processors in their server unit estimate, regardless of device (server, network or storage), whereas the estimated 1P [single-socket] and 2P [two-socket] TAM [Total Addressable Market] provided by IDC only includes traditional servers."

Server CPU shipments fell during the quarter, but AMD continued its three-year streak of quarterly share gains. Intel says it is shipping its Sapphire Rapids Xeons to some customers, but we haven't seen the general release yet. Likewise, we're also waiting for AMD's EPYC Genoa to come to market. 

AMD vs. Intel Overall x86 Market Share Q1 2022

via Mercury Research
1Q224Q213Q212Q211Q214Q203Q202Q201Q204Q193Q192Q194Q183Q18
AMD Overall x8627.7%25.6%24.6%22.5%20.7%21.7%22.4%18.3%14.8%15.1%14.6%13.9%12.3%10.6%
Overall PP Change QoQ / YoY+2.1 / +7.0+1.0 / +3.9+2.1 / +2.2+1.8 / +4.2-1.0 / +6.0 -0.7 / +6.2+4.1 / +6.6+3.5 / +1.2 (+3.7?)-0.7 / ?+0.9 / +3.2+0.7 / +4??-

Whereas other segments exclude IoT and semi-custom (like AMD's game console business), this accounting of the overall x86 market also includes those products and is focused primarily on the broader AMD vs Intel competition. 

Mercury Research provided the following commentary: "For all-inclusive share, which counts not only PC client CPUs and servers but also IoT and semi-custom products used in items like gaming consoles, AMD gained share in the first quarter and set a new record high at 27.7 percent, beating the 25.6 percent record set last quarter. Recall last quarter AMD broke the record it had set more than 15 years ago of 25.3 percent."

Paul Alcorn
Paul Alcorn

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.

  • Tom Sunday
    WOW…The biggest desktop PC quarterly decline in history. Would have never believed it would come to this. Certainly the folks lining-up at ‘Best Buy’ just a few months ago at 4AM to snagging that illusive GPU, did not get this message either. But what do I know! Yet I do vividly remember cheering out loud when AMD on November 19, 2021 was at $155 per share. Today it’s looming at $87 per share. WTF! I would really like to invest some of my hoarded 401K and subsequent matches made by my company, but not sure if we ever see those $155 AMD stock days again. I would also love if AMD would finally start paying ‘stock dividends’ (3-4%?) to make investors happy and to at least that way guarantying some extra growth and income along the way! Did AMD managed to carve out significant wins during the recent tumultuous quarter? I am not at all convinced because the stock value ever since late 2021 is most definitely going and spireling into the wrong direction.
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    Not exactly something to celebrate.

    On the desktop side they are more expensive than their Intel counterparts while providing less performance, but they are a cheaper solution to upgrade an existing AM4 platform with the caveat it's a dead end platform. TH pointed this fact out on their article yesterday about AMD's "new" chips. And yes I still loathe them for not cutting prices of the Ryzen 5000 series yet.

    Server's a different story, as long as Intel keeps up their splitting hair segmentation, they're going to lose ground to AMD, and it's a win for server builders.

    Mobile...we'll see. Both AMD and Intel have great options now, consumer wins in that market.
    Reply
  • UWguy
    AMD stock is falling fast…we’ll maybe not as fast as Bitcoin. When do you think we’ll see the stock below $50 a share? My guess is two weeks of things don’t improve.
    Reply
  • Charogne
    yes, AMD shares value are dropping, but Intel too lost 25% value in the last 6 months, Nvidia did much worst. All stock market are slowly crashing, its not just AMD, and it have nothing to do with its performance and innovation. I think the only business doing globally very well are oil company. Suncor gained 63% valuation in last year and exxon 44%
    Reply
  • Tom Sunday
    UWguy said:
    AMD stock is falling fast…we’ll maybe not as fast as Bitcoin. When do you think we’ll see the stock below $50 a share?

    A lot of people and investors gotten spoiled once AMD essentially jumped from $48 per share in January 2020 to $95 later in December. Many actually doubled their investment in less than 1-years time. I jumped on the bandwagon a bit late at $56 per share but by cashing-in relatively early (despite my vehemently opposed financial advisor) and yet had a very nice run. Of course my immediate ‘reactive thought’ and based on yesterdays headline was if things would repeat themselves and me going back once more to the same well. If AMD stock is starting now to stalemate around the $50 mark it will be in the Intel stock range. But at least Intel is paying a dividend to soften the blow as I tool along in these totally unpredictable times of the tech-market and more.
    Reply
  • maik80
    Apple's financial report points to 15% growth in Macs, this guy doesn't even know what he's talking about,
    Mac: US$10,4 bilhões (+15%)
    Reply
  • cristovao
    Thing about Intel is all platforms are dead ends!
    Reply
  • artk2219
    maik80 said:
    Apple's financial report points to 15% growth in Macs, this guy doesn't even know what he's talking about,
    Mac: US$10,4 bilhões (+15%)

    Someone didn't read the title, "AMD Share Skyrockets Amid Biggest Quarterly Desktop PC Decline In History". Macs are mostly mobile, while they definitely have desktops, most of Apples sales are in laptops, thats the same as every other computer manufacturer, their laptops have made gains recently, desktops, eh I'd have to see the data. Either way, Apple has become roughly 15% of the total market (dekstops and laptops), ranking them behind Lenovo, HP, and Dell in terms of units sold (profits is a WHOLE different story), good for them i guess.
    Reply