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Intel regained some lost market share in the second quarter of 2023 as the overall PC market recovered from a very weak first quarter, according to market researcher Mercury Research.
In the quarter, Intel gained three percentage points of market share while AMD lost three points.For all-inclusive share, which counts not only PC client CPUs (central processing units) and servers but also IoT (internet of things) and semi-custom products used in items like gaming consoles, Intel gained 3 full points of share on quarter due to AMD’s decline in SoC (system-on-chip) shipments contrasted with Intel seeing a slight increase in non-server NEX IoT shipments. On year AMD’s all-inclusive share is slightly higher due to a faster recovery in client CPUs and Intel’s NEX shipments being lower. Intel gained share in part to demand for low-end processors for Chromebooks.
In the second quarter of 2023 the PC central processing unit (CPU) market rebounded off the decade lows set the prior quarter. As a result of this there were no new records set in the second quarter — high or low, for units, revenues, pricing, or growth rates — which ultimately is good news and reflects that the worst part of the current inventory-induced downturn is probably now in the past, said Dean McCarron, analyst at Mercury Research, in an email.
While on-year growth rates for the market remained deeply negative due to lower demand and remnants of inventory still impacting second-quarter shipments, the overall CPU market grew in the second quarter, with desktop and mobile client CPUs up more than 20% on quarter when the average in a normal
market is for nearly flat on-quarter results.
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Total server CPU shipments declined in the second quarter; however, one segment within the server CPU market grew. This was the processor category most likely destined for large data centers — Intel’s Xeon Scalable Processors and AMD’s Epyc — grew very slightly, hinting that the server CPU market is probably near or at its bottom.
The remaining X86 processor market segment — Intel’s IoT processors and AMD’s SoC products — was down, due entirely to AMD’s experiencing a forecast decline in SoC shipments as the game console cycle matures and seasonal downturns impact sales; due to this lower SoC activity AMD’s overall Iot/SoC-inclusive share was down for the quarter, even as client and server share grew.
AMD gained a small amount of overall client CPU share in the second quarter, with a minor uptick in mobile CPU share and a very slight gain in desktop. (Note in the tables that desktop gain was 0.1 points, but the shares are 0.2 points apart and this is simply due to how the rounding worked this quarter, the actual gain indeed rounds to 0.1 points.)
While lower on quarter, Intel’s client share was up strongly on year, primarily due to significant growth in entry-level mobile CPUs (notebook Celeron processors and especially Intel’s new “Intel Processor” branded N100 CPUs which increased very strongly on quarter) that are primarily used in Chromebooks —
all signs are after a year-long lull, Chromebook demand for CPUs –both X86 and ARM — has increased dramatically in the past two quarters.
AMD also gained a slight amount of share in servers for the quarter, but as noted above both Intel and AMD saw increases in their higher-end data-center oriented processors — all of Intel’s share loss was associated with lower shipments of Xeon UP and networking and storage CPUs sold by Intel’s NEX group.
Arm complicates the picture
The Arm PC CPU market was particularly complex this quarter. We note that Apple’s Mac Revenues were down nearly five percent in Q2, which implies a significant decline in Arm CPUs shipped from this source, however like we saw with Intel’s entry-level mobile CPUs, Arm Chromebook CPU shipments are believed to be up — we believe the net result was a nearly flat market for Arm PC client CPUs.
However, due to the x86 CPU inventory recovery and especially Intel’s entry-level growth, flat shipments for the quarter results in our estimate for Arm PC client share (including Chromebooks and Apple’s M-series based Macs with x86 desktop and mobile CPUs in the total client size estimate) moving lower in the second quarter to 12.5% from an upward-revised first quarter estimate of 15.4%. Recall that the prior quarter was a record high driven by a jump in Arm Chromebook processor volumes while Intel’s entry-level CPU shipments had been at lower than average levels.
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