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Recession Hits CPU Sales Hard

The recession has hit every industry hard, including CPUs. Market research shows that x86 processors took a considerable dive heading into the fourth quarter.

According to market research firm Mercury Research, shipments of x86 CPUs for desktops, servers and notebooks declined 18 percent between the third of fourth quarter of 2008. Besides the weakened economy, another reason for the fourth quarter decline was due to an unusually strong third quarter, which was up 13 percent over the same time in 2007.

Overall, the x86 market was down 8.8 percent as compared to fourth quarter 2007.

We saw the same trend earlier when looking at GPU shipments -- an exceptionally active third quarter followed by a dramatic fall in the fourth quarter.

For the year, Intel gained market share, going from a 77.1 percent hold in 2007 to 80.4 percent in 2008. Via also went up 0.8 to 1.1 percent. That increase in market share from both companies had to come at the expense of AMD, which fell from 22.1 percent to 18.5 percent.

Intel’s gain is largely attributed to its Atom processor, which powers nearly every netbook on the market today. “Without the presence of Atom and strong netbook sales in Intel's business, the market share results would have appeared largely unchanged,” Dean McCarron, an analyst with Mercury, wrote in an email quoted by eWeek.

Like with the GPU market, shipments are unlikely to pick up again soon.

“Leading indicators are that the first quarter will be much worse than the seasonal average decline of 7.4 percent, with our forecast currently at 15 [percent] for the first quarter based on market conditions in mid-January,” added McCarron”Clearly the processor market has been impacted by the worldwide recession and financial crisis.”

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • Do you think we will see an even greater price drop in GPU's and CPU's because of the fourth quarter drops? I feel that computers are already one of the most popular products in the world, and one day, the latest tech will cost no more then a few hundred. I hope so, i want a 260gtx for 100 bucks
    Reply
  • Pei-chen
    Doubt it. I just bought a Q6600 G0 off eBay because the Q9550/9650 I had in mind are over $200. I refuse to pay more than $200 for mid range product.
    Reply
  • falchard
    uhh... Aren't most processors x64 now?
    Reply
  • pcolby
    x86 (aka AMD64) is an extension to x86, and so I assume that the term "x86 CPUs" above is including both 32bit and 64bit x86 processors ;)
    Reply
  • timaahhh
    falcharduhh... Aren't most processors x64 now?No, x86 is an architecture/instruction set, derived from the 8086 cpu. AMD and Intel processors use the x86 instruction set. Most IBM processors use the Power architecture. Though Cisc and Risc really are not used anymore the fundamentally x86 is Cisc and Power is Risc
    Reply
  • crockdaddy
    No, x86 is an architecture/instruction set, derived from the 8086 cpu. AMD and Intel processors use the x86 instruction set. Most IBM processors use the Power architecture. Though Cisc and Risc really are not used anymore the fundamentally x86 is Cisc and Power is Risc

    Christ, is it too much for someone to post something useful and actually have a clue as to what they are commenting on. Follow the wiki below and you shall have your mostly unbiased answer about 64 bit cpus.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/64-bit
    Reply
  • Niva
    Price on computer hardware always drops, you can get today for hundreds of dollars what you could have a few years for thousands (or not at all.) The top of the line products will always cost a premium though, that's true for everything in life.
    Reply
  • crockdaddy
    Very true Niva, hence why the smart play is to always buy mid-line products.
    Reply
  • cruiseoveride
    last time CPU prices were this ridiculous was like in the early 90s. $1000 cpus??? c'mon Intel.
    Reply
  • eklipz330
    uhh, has some1 considered the fact that core i7 doesn't offer that large of an improvement over core2's? How are ssd sales compared to hdd's? I wouldn't be surprised if they did better from the previous year...
    Reply