Back in 2015, we quietly dropped AMD processors from our configuration options here at Puget Systems. Their sales numbers had been slowly declining for a long time, from a high of over half our system sales in 2006, as Intel had really poured themselves into taking back the high-performance end of the CPU market. At the time I wrote a blog post on the subject, which ended with this paragraph:
"Now if AMD comes out with a new generation of processors that turn the tide again, as they did in the early 2000s, things could change. I hope for their sake, and for that of competition (which is always good for end-users), that they do. Only time will tell, though."
Well, time has now told – and AMD has done an amazing job of fighting their way back into the spotlight! It took a few generations for their new mainstream Ryzen processors to really mature, but by the 3000-series they had roughly equaled Intel's contemporary Core chips and now with the 5000-series they have clearly taken the performance lead in most applications. Likewise, AMD's high-end desktop (HEDT) Threadripper processors had some early issues with memory access and odd threading behavior – but with the 3rd gen CPUs in that family they now lead with the highest core count and best multi-core performance available in that market segment.
So what impact on our sales figures has AMD's return to glory had? My previous post covered up to the end of 2015, so here is a chart showing AMD and Intel market share among systems we have sold from the start of 2016 up through today:
As you can see, AMD effectively disappeared from our product line for 2016 and most of 2017, and then spent another two years with single-digit shares among our computers. It wasn't until the tail end of 2019 that things started to pick up, and from there it has been a steady climb. In just one year, AMD went from being used in less than 10% of the systems we built to over 50% – quite a comeback!
I doubt we'll ever see AMD reach a full 100%, as Intel is just too big of a giant in this industry, but this reminds me of what was happening twenty years ago. As I was graduating from high school, AMD was having its first heyday – and now they are back again, and going strong. Hopefully, their success continues and pushes Intel to hit back with another great processor leap like their Core 2 family back in 2006. This sort of continual competition is great for technological advancement, productivity improvement, and consumer choice!
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