Why did Intel win the CPU market

CPU Market Share: Intel wins more than AMD in Q4 2020

In the last quarter of 2020, CPU manufacturers sold over 20 percent more processors. By expanding its capacities in its own factories, Intel was able to gain more than AMD, which cannot deliver enough CPUs on the market. A hint why Intel will keep the factories for the foreseeable future.

Intel is selling more CPUs thanks to its own factories

Intel has doubled its manufacturing capacity in the past three years. No contract manufacturer could handle these volumes in a short period of time, which come from three or four fully equipped Intel factories. This is exactly what some of the figures in the fourth quarter are based on. AMD is growing steadily and impressively, but since the overall market increased by 20 percent, AMD was not able to take full advantage of this opportunity with the contract manufacturer TSMC, despite some clearly superior products.

Therefore, according to analysts, Intel took market share from AMD in the fourth quarter, but that is only one side of the coin. Compared to the previous year, AMD is still clearly in the plus, it is the snapshot, from the third to the fourth quarter.

The numbers in detail

Expressed in figures, AMD's market share in the desktop market fell from 20.1 percent to 19.3 percent, compared with 18.3 percent a year ago. In the desktop area of ​​all things, the picture is often completely distorted by the numbers of a single retailer and the resulting media presence, which, based on the buying behavior in exactly one shop, seem to show a market share of up to 90 percent for AMD. However, the bottom line is that, as has often been reported, the reality is different due to thousands of customers for the CPUs worldwide.

In the notebook, the share fell from 20.2 to 19.0 percent, but in the previous year it was only 16.2 percent. In the server area, however, AMD won on all fronts: 7.1 percent market share is an increase compared to the third quarter with 6.6 percent and the previous year with only 4.5 percent. In real terms, AMD has increased its share in this area by almost 60 percent within a year.

AMD will continue to capture market share

Calculated over the course of the year, AMD has lost Intel's market share by over 6 percentage points. Constant dripping wears away the stone is also the motto in the coming months. With Ryzen 5000 in the notebook and new server processors from March, these Intel bastions are to be broken up further. Because notebook and server are Intel's strongest positions, and resistance is expected accordingly. This is more likely to work for Intel in the notebook than in the server, because Intel's 2021 Xeon CPUs hardly stand a chance against AMD's overall Milan package. And so AMD will likely continue to gain market share in 2021.

  • Volker Rißka Email
    ... has been writing about CPUs, their architectures and manufacturing processes as well as mainboards and RAM since 2002.