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AMD's CPU Market Share and Revenue Jump as Apple's M1 Arm Chips Rise in PCs

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AMD vs Intel market share

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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AMD vs Intel market share

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The Mercury Research CPU market share results are in for the second quarter of 2021, showing that AMD has lost share in desktop PCs as it prioritized the production of higher-margin SKUs and server and notebook chips, thus boosting its share of overall revenue.

We also learned a bit of new information on the Arm front: Mercury Research's Dean McCarron also tells us that Arm-based CPUs continue to grow on strong sales of Chromebooks and as Apple's Arm-powered M1 processors gain traction, saying, "Based on our estimates ARM has approximately a 7 percent share of PC processors if they're included in the share calculations, up from approximately 5 percent last quarter and less than 2 percent a year ago."

There's plenty of movement on the x86 side of the market, too. AMD has access to a finite amount of production capacity, so the company continued to focus on producing its highest-margin products, leading to the company shedding 2.3 percentage points of the Desktop PC market, landing at a 17.1% share of the segment. However, those regressions might not be as problematic as they appear on the surface due to AMD's shift to producing pricier chips that generate more profit. (We have the full breakdown for each segment at the end of the article).

AMD also clearly prioritized production of its notebook chips as it gained 1.9 percentage points to brings its laptop unit share up to an even 20%, clawing back some of the ground it lost in prior quarters.

Things were even rosier for AMD's server business. According to Mercury Research, both it and Intel saw more than 10% unit growth during the quarter. AMD gained share during this period (+0.6pp), reaching 9.5% of the market, a high for recent times.

However, as we'll cover a bit more in-depth in the server breakout below, McCarron's numbers include all types of servers, whereas some reports that narrow the competitive landscape down (to only the areas AMD competes in) reports that AMD has reached 15% of the server market (with Arm at 4%) during the quarter.

Regardless of how you measure the server segment, AMD continues to gain share, with McCarron commenting that, "Additionally, we believe AMD set a new record for both server CPU units and revenues." 

McCarron Research

(Image credit: McCarron Research)

That's borne out in the revenue share numbers from the report — AMD continues to increase its revenue as it shifts its production to higher-margin chips and capitalizes on its performance leadership with higher prices for its chips than we've seen in the past. 

AMD has also taken its highest share of the overall PC market since 2007 with 22.5%, but the company also hit 22.4% of the market in Q3 of last year, so that's only a slight overall advance.  

The overall desktop PC market weighed in at a record $18 billion in revenue during the second quarter, even though the number of units shipped didn't set a record. That's yet another sign that the average pricing of CPUs remains high. According to McCarron, more than 120 million CPUs were shipped per quarter for the past three quarters, which is much higher than the 90 million units per quarter in the pre-Covid era.

Be aware that the table above only covers revenue. Below you'll find the specific unit share numbers for each segment, complete with historical data and a bit more information on the server market share numbers. 

AMD vs. Intel Desktop PC Market Share Q2 2021 

2Q211Q214Q203Q202Q201Q204Q193Q192Q191Q20194Q183Q182Q181Q184Q173Q172Q171Q174Q163Q16
AMD Desktop Unit Share17.1%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)-2.3 / -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 / --

AMD vs. Intel Notebook / Mobile Market Share Q2 2021

2Q211Q214Q203Q202Q201Q20Q4193Q192Q191Q20194Q183Q182Q18
AMD Mobile Unit Share20.0%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)+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 / ?

AMD vs. Intel Server Unit Market Share Q2 2021

2Q211Q214Q203Q202Q201Q204Q193Q192Q191Q20194Q183Q182Q184Q17
AMD Server Unit Share9.5%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)+0.6 / +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."

Below we can see a bit of a different take with a methodology:

AMD vs Intel Market Share

(Image credit: Omida)

This report comes from market research firm Omida that uses a different methodology, indicating that AMD has set a recent record with 15% market share. This report also finds Arm server share at 4%, with predictions that it will reach 14% of the overall server market in 2025.  

AMD vs. Intel Total Market Share Q2 2021

2Q211Q214Q203Q202Q201Q204Q193Q192Q194Q183Q18
AMD Overall x8622.5%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+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. 

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.

  • JerryC
    How did they manage that when they were just in Congress crying because Intel has all of the fab space locked up tight for the next 4 years or so?
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    A strongly rising tide is lifting all boats and ... AMD is lifting faster.
    Reply
  • watzupken
    This just proves that Intel is sinking faster with AMD and ARM chipping away market share from every segment. After using the M1 MacBook Air for about 3 months now, and quite frankly, other than gaming, the system does everything that a laptop with X86 CPU can do, while sipping power and running fanless.
    Reply
  • distortnx
    JerryC said:
    How did they manage that when they were just in Congress crying because Intel has all of the fab space locked up tight for the next 4 years or so?

    Intel has locked up TSMC 3nm, potentially preventing AMD from being able to produce enough chips to meet demand. Sadly reminiscent of their antics (paid exclusivity) last time AMD had a good product and was gaining market share. Although this is less direct, the effect (bad for competition) could be the same:

    https://www.techradar.com/amp/news/intel-locks-down-all-remaining-tsmc-3nm-production-capacity-boxing-out-amd-and-apple
    This is not good for the consumer and could lead to performance stagnation like what we went through post-Athlon 64 days. We need a strong AMD to keep Intel honest.

    For those unfamiliar with what happened last time:

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-intel-idUSTRE54C1SO20090513
    Reply
  • prtskg
    distortnx said:
    Intel has locked up TSMC 3nm, potentially preventing AMD from being able to produce enough chips to meet demand. Sadly reminiscent of their antics (paid exclusivity) last time AMD had a good product and was gaining market share. Although this is less direct, the effect (bad for competition) could be the same:

    https://www.techradar.com/amp/news/intel-locks-down-all-remaining-tsmc-3nm-production-capacity-boxing-out-amd-and-apple
    This is not good for the consumer and could lead to performance stagnation like what we went through post-Athlon 64 days. We need a strong AMD to keep Intel honest.

    For those unfamiliar with what happened last time:

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-intel-idUSTRE54C1SO20090513
    Can Intel outbid Apple?
    Reply
  • distortnx
    prtskg said:
    Can Intel outbid Apple?

    Not likely but Apple isn't a direct competitor to AMD and isn't locking up fab space to push them out. Without AMD, x86 is a one horse race.
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    AMD bought as much 3nm as they wanted several months ago.
    Intel only bought the "leftovers" .
    https://www.hardwaretimes.com/amd-reportedly-books-5nm-and-3nm-capacity-with-tsmc-for-2022-2023/
    Reply
  • waltc3
    If the AMD store stock (US) is any indication, AMD's CPU production shortages are rapidly disappearing--if they aren't gone by now. When AMD is able to more closely meet demand for its CPUs, all I can say is that Intel had better brace itself...;) If only the GPU side would clear up. For most of the last couple of weeks the AMD store has had plenty of APUs and Zen 3 CPUs to sell, including the 5900 & the 5950--I noticed that the inventories held up fine for days at a time, and when they were exhausted--the next business day the Zen3's had been completely restocked.

    Just checked--all are still in stock at the US AMD store.
    Reply
  • Groveling_Wyrm
    watzupken said:
    This just proves that Intel is sinking faster with AMD and ARM chipping away market share from every segment.

    Yet, Intel is selling every processor they make, as fast as they make it, with orders stacking up. If that is a failing company, I wanna own one. Even more significant is that AMD now clearly has the IPC and Core count lead, pretty much giving them the advantage. They still have a LONG way to go to even match Intel, let alone beat them, in terms of quantity sold.

    Intel growing at 3% is still a FAR larger amount than AMD growing at 10%.

    distortnx said:
    Intel has locked up TSMC 3nm, potentially preventing AMD from being able to produce enough chips to meet demand. Sadly reminiscent of their antics (paid exclusivity) last time AMD had a good product and was gaining market share. Although this is less direct, the effect (bad for competition) could be the same:

    And this time, it is completely LEGAL. It is completely within normal business practice.

    TerryLaze said:
    AMD bought as much 3nm as they wanted several months ago.
    Intel only bought the "leftovers" .
    https://www.hardwaretimes.com/amd-reportedly-books-5nm-and-3nm-capacity-with-tsmc-for-2022-2023/

    What Intel did here was lock it up so that AMD couldn't expand more, and limits AMD's exercisable options. I see this as an effective attempt to stop AMD's growth further than it is. This is a lesson to AMD to not rely on TSMC alone to manufacture it's processors, and to spread their manufacturing to other companies.
    Reply