AMD takes microprocessor market share from Intel in Q2

AMD ships more chips than Intel on the success of Fusion

Strong demand for Fusion chips helped Advanced Micro Devices take global microprocessor market share from Intel in the second quarter this year, Mercury Research said in a study released on Thursday.

AMD's x86 microprocessor market share grew to 19.4 per cent during the second quarter, up from 17.8 per cent during last year's second quarter. Intel's market share fell to 79.9 per cent from 81.3 per cent in the year-ago quarter.

AMD benefitted from growing demand for lower-priced PCs amid gloomy economic conditions in some parts of the world, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research. AMD processors are cheaper than competitive chips from Intel, and AMD's latest Fusion chips were in strong demand from PC makers.

AMD's Fusion family of chips integrate a CPU and graphics processor inside a single chip. PC vendors like Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba have embraced AMD's recently released Fusion chip code-named Llano, which is aimed at mainstream PCs. HP in June announced 11 new laptops with Llano, and laptops with the chip priced between US$500 and $700 are also available from Toshiba, Samsung and Acer. AMD in the first quarter shipped power-efficient Fusion chips for lightweight laptops and desktops, which have also done well.

AMD shipped around 12 million Fusion processors through the end of the second fiscal quarter, which ended on July 2, said Thomas Seifert, interim CEO at AMD, during an earnings conference call last week. Fusion processors made up around 70 per cent of AMD's mobile chip shipments.

The popularity of Fusion chips hurt Intel's market share, though the chip maker's latest Core i3, i5 and i7 chips based on the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture sold well, McCarron said. Overall Intel CPU shipments were hurt as demand for AMD's Llano CPUs went up.

Intel last week said that its chip shipments were partly hurt by a weak netbook market during the second quarter, though demand for Core processors was strong among corporate customers. Intel revised its PC unit shipment growth to be around 8 per cent for the full year, which is slightly below the double-digit guidance from earlier this year.

AMD's success came despite a sagging PC market, which was hurt by a growing interest in tablets. Overall PC shipments in the second calendar quarter grew by just 2.6 per cent compared to the year-ago quarter, IDC said earlier this month.

Overall microprocessor shipments were slow, growing by only 0.8 per cent year over year, according to Mercury Research.

AMD could not take advantage of the Sandy Bridge chipset woes as Intel resolved the issue quickly, McCarron said. Intel early this year announced that it found a Sandy Bridge chipset design flaw, which was ultimately fixed in under a month.

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