Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) and Intel Corporation have a long history together, going back to the late 1960s. The founders of both companies worked together in Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc. Intel founders left Fairchild in 1968, and AMD was incorporated in 1969. Since then, the two companies have competed as well as worked together in the same industry.
For the last decade, AMD has been struggling to stay afloat for the last decade or so. In 2011, AMD had developed from scratch and launched a new microprocessor and microarchitecture for desktops and servers. However, from the beginning, AMD knew that this product was not going to be able to perform as expected. A very difficult decision needed to be made: did the company try and repair the Bulldozer, or create a completely new microprocessor. Creating a new microprocessor takes years of research and development, and even then, there is no guarantee of success.
Simultaneously, AMD won the contract to start building the Xbox One and PS4, made the announcement about launching into ARM servers, acquired a server vendor (SeaMicro) and cancelled its CPUs at GlobalFoundries. The company also launched the Radeon HD 7000 series and initiated work on the Hawaii project, commenced improvements on its FX-derived CPU cores and – finally – with the few resources left to them, began developing the K12 and Ryzen CPUs. K12 never made it off the ground, and Ryzen was finally launched in March, 2017.
During all this time, Intel went from strength to strength and became the market leader in CPUs and processing. Its closest competitor, AMD, was so far behind, that it was pretty much a monopoly for the company.
Then came the Ryzen process for consumer PCs, launched early this year. And the entire playing field was turned inside out. Analysts and user alike are stunned by how well AMD’s Ryzen is doing. And there is data to prove it.
German hardware re-seller, Mindfactory, released its sales data, and the numbers tell an astounding story. In March, when Ryzen was launched, Intel processors owned 72.4% of the market. AMD only managed to capture 27.6%. Since then, however, the tables have slowly turned. July saw AMD’s Ryzen grabbing 48.7% of the sales. Finally, in August, Ryzen beat Intel for the first time in almost 10 years with a majority of 56.1%.
Also for the first time in almost a decade, AMD has overtaken Intel in revenues earned. With 56.1% of the CPU market, Ryzen is making money for AMD, giving the company a long-awaited respite.
Then, on August 10, AMD launched the Ryzen Threadripper processor. This is an expensive, high margin processor that is direct competition with Intel’s flagship processors. Intel also launched its new high-performance desktop processors, but the excitement and hype around the Threadripper overshadowed the reveal. The irony of it all is that the Threadripper was not even a planned product. AMD’s communications team representative, in an interview with Forbes, said that the processor was the baby of a small group of developers who were tinkering with what an ideal high performance PC would be like. They actually created Threadripper in their spare time!
While this data is sourced from only one retailer in Europe (but, to its credit, the store is an influencer), similar trends seem to be emerging from other parts of the world too. Sales reports from Newegg and Amazon are also reflecting a similar story. While Ryzen processors still haven’t exceeded sales of the Core i7 and Core i5 Intel processors, data shows that it’s catching up fast.