AMD Reports Q2 2019 Market Share as Intel Sticks to Its Guns on Pricing


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Over the past month, AMD let fly with two-thirds of its 7nm product lineup. Both the desktop and server spaces have now been refreshed with 7nm CPUs. Intel’s response? Meh.

Let’s do the market share data first. Heading into Q2, AMD has a series of pushes and drags on its market performance. Positive factors include Intel’s ongoing CPU shortage (expected to peak in Q2 2019) and the strong overall market response to Ryzen in desktop, laptop, and server. Negative factors include ongoing trade disputes with China and the possibility of a 12/14nm sales slowdown as the 7nm launch approached.

Data on AMD’s market share in desktop, server, and laptops was provided by Dean McCarron of Mercury Research via THG. We’ve covered Mercury Research’s figures before — sticking with one firm allows us to create an apples-to-apples comparison for how AMD’s market share is evolving over time. There’s good news on multiple fronts for the smaller CPU manufacturer:

AMD-Market-Share-Q2-2019

Data by Dean McCarron, Mercury Research. Chart by ExtremeTech

AMD’s desktop market share was flat in Q2, at 17.1 percent of the channel. This isn’t necessarily surprising. AMD has been cutting prices on its older 2000 series parts to stimulate uptake, but there was an unmistakable surge of interest in third-generation RyzenSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce after those chips launched. We don’t know how strong the surge will be, but European retailer Mindfactory released July sales data showing that AMD shipments skyrocketed after July 7. The DIY retail market for CPUs is typically estimated to be between 10-20 percent of the space. If AMD continues to enjoy high retail demand, we will see that reflected in the Q3 2019 figures for overall desktop market share. As always, when considering data from a single company or source, keep in mind that it reflects information at that specific retailer, not the wider market.

Notebook share is the major winner, both year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter. AMD has picked up two percentage points of share since the beginning of the year and grown its market share by 1.6x relative to Q2 2018. The challenge for the company will be keeping that share as Intel’s CPU shortage lessens. Some analysts have predicted that AMD would lose its gains in this area as Intel shipped more cores; we’ll see what Q3 shows us in that regard.

The server market continues to tick upwards, with AMD claiming 3.4 percent of the space now, up from 1.4 percent the previous year. AMD didn’t hit its previous goal of taking 5 percent of the entire server market by Q4 2018 (the company told us earlier this year that it believed it had secured at least 5 percent of the 2S / dual-socket server space). We’re not concerned by the relatively slow server ramp — the Epyc CPUs AMD just launched are the most impressive performance leap the company has ever delivered in that market.

Overall, AMD’s market share figures show a company executing well and gaining share. AMD has predicted that its Compute and Graphics revenue will increase by 1.2x over 2018 when the impact of slowing semi-custom design sales is taken into effect (Xbox One and PS4 sales are falling as the new console cycle builds momentum).

As for Intel, the larger CPU vendor is sticking to its guns. Intel’s August CPU Price List gives the expected list prices in 1K units for its complete product lineup. There are no changes whatsoever. These official price guides don’t necessarily reflect the price that chips are selling for in the retail channel, and they certainly don’t reflect the price that OEMs pay in bulk, but they represent Intel’s officially communicated pricing.

IntelPricesAugust

The full document is available for your perusal, but it looks like the above straight down the line. Intel may adjust its pricing quietly behind the scenes, or it may make larger, formal cuts at a later date, but the firm is sticking to its guns for now. From Intel’s perspective, this makes good sense. AMD may have just launched an impressive suite of products, but Intel presumably wants to see how the market responds to them before it makes a determination about what to do.

Intel’s response to AMD since 2017 has been to avoid direct price cuts and instead introduce different products at adjusted price points. That might not work in server, given that Cascade Lake has already launched and there aren’t going to be opportunities to respond to AMD with a new family deployment in the near term. Intel might cut prices later this year, or opt to wait to change its product alignments until Cooper Lake or Ice Lake are ready to ship. For now, AMD continues to gain market share with expected improvements in the back half of 2019 related to the 7nm Ryzen refresh.

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Leak Shows AMD Epyc 7742 Slugging it Out With Intel Xeon Platinum 8280


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AMD has kept details about its upcoming Epyc product family remarkably close to its chest. A recent leak (now deleted) at the publicly available Open Benchmarking database shows a tough competition between AMD’s upcoming 7nm Epyc CPUs and Intel’s equivalent Xeon products. Intel CEO Bob Swan has referred to AMD as offering increased competition in the back half of 2019, particularly in data center, so these figures aren’t automatically surprising — unless, of course, you remember the era just a few years ago when AMD’s market share in servers was basically zero.

According to the text of the now-deleted leak (picked up by THG before it went down), the AMD Epyc 7742 is a 64-core CPU with 128 threads, 256MB of L3 cache, a TDP of 225W, and a base / boost clock of 2.25GHz and 3.4GHz, respectively. The already-launched Epyc 7601 is a 32C/64T, 180W TDP CPU, with 64MB of L3 and a nearly-identical 2.2GHz base / 3.4GHz boost clock. The Xeon Platinum 8280 is 28C/56T, 2.7GHz base, 4GHz boost, and a 205W TDP, while the Xeon Gold 6138 (included for reference as well) is 20C/40T, 2GHz / 3.7GHz, and a 125W TDP.

If these rumors are accurate, AMD has managed to double core count and very slightly increase clock within a 1.25x larger TDP envelope. I am not sure what the “RDY1001C” refers to at the bottom of the results, though this configuration is always the fastest of the listed. Googling the term turned up no results.

There are more tests at THG than we’ve reproduced here; check their article for full results. And, as always, treat all results with a big ol’ bucket of caution. These are leaked results. Even if accurate, they may reflect engineering samples that are not representative of final performance.

SVT is a video encoder that’s heavily optimized for Intel CPUs, but optimizations for Intel chips often work well for AMD CPUs as well, and we certainly see that here. None of the encodes seem to scale particularly well when adding more cores, so we’re not going to try to make sense of the dualie figures. A single 7742 is significantly faster than the Xeon Platinum 8280 and the 7742 is more than twice as fast as the 7601.

In HEVC, the performance figures change. Here, Intel and AMD are at parity overall, but the 7742 is a huge uplift over and above the Epyc 7601.

POV-Ray 3.7 does scale with increased thread counts, but the gain from 1x CPU to 2x CPUs is much smaller from the 7742 as compared to the 7601. AMD only picks up about 24 percent more performance from adding another 64 cores, compared to 42 percent scaling for the Xeon Platinum 8280. This difference in scaling means that a pair of dual Xeon 8280’s nearly match a pair of Epyc 7742’s, even though one Epyc 7742 is significantly faster than one Xeon Platinum 8280.

Blender, and rendering more generally, are tests that AMD CPUs generally excel at. AMD decisively wins this test, though interestingly, we also see signs of significantly improved scaling for the Intel CPUs. This may simply reflect the fact that the Intel CPUs have far fewer cores. The Xeon Platinum 8280 is only a 28-core chip being compared to the performance of a 64-core chip. That’s a fairly massive advantage for AMD. Of course, there’s also the question of price and positioning — Intel has typically priced its Xeons far above AMD’s Epyc CPUs, and we tend to prioritize comparing on price above other factors.

Readers should, however, be aware that we may be seeing scaling issues on the AMD CPUs because of the sheer number of cores — 128C/256T, while the Xeon Platinum CPUs are only fielding 56 cores in a 2S configuration. The applications themselves may not scale well at these kinds of thread counts.

If these figures are accurate, they suggest AMD’s 7nm Epyc will be a significant challenge for Intel across a wider range of markets — which is pretty much exactly what we expected based on third-generation Ryzen and AMD’s previous statements about Epyc 2. Factor in Bob Swan’s acknowledgment of an increased competitive market, and we have a scenario teed up in which Intel will cut its Xeon prices, either by directly trimming them or when it launches Cooper Lake (currently expected in the first half of 2020). Intel’s CPU prices have historically run much higher than AMD’s, but it’s difficult to know exactly how much higher, because the company’s list prices (the best indicator we have to go on) don’t reflect what its volume customers actually pay.

If AMD’s Rome is as good as it looks, we should see increased OEM adoption of the part compared to first-generation Epyc, as well as some reaction from Intel. It can take server customers multiple product generations to move to new vendors, but they do eventually take notice.

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