AMD is biting at Intel's server market share with its largest gains in over a decade

AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su holding an AMD EPYC server processor at CES 2020
(Image credit: AMD)

The first few months of 2021 have been absolutely massive for AMD and Intel. According to the latest report from Mercury Research, the first three months of 2021 saw the largest yearly increase in shipments of CPUs in a quarter of a century, and second only to the final moments of 2020 in terms of raw volume.

You'd be perhaps surprised to learn that Intel has gained a touch in overall x86 market share in Q1 2021, whereas AMD reportedly lost out. There's only a percentage point in it: a 1% gain for Intel and a 1% loss for AMD, though. Far from major gains in either direction.

Mercury Research puts that down to an increase in budget chip shipments for Chipzilla, which tallies with other figures out of the tech giant as of late.

But where Intel has gained in mobile processor market share, it loses out marginally in desktop. That's where AMD's Ryzen processors are seemingly crushing it, and despite some difficulty sourcing the top-tier chips, such as the Ryzen 9 5950X and Ryzen 9 5900X, AMD is still managing to make gains within the market predisposed to Intel processors for so long.

AMD reported massive revenue in its last earnings call, and a shift to more high-end processors with higher average selling prices in Q1 certainly goes a long way to explaining that.

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But perhaps the biggest win in AMD's eyes is the 1.8% increase in server market share quarter to quarter, and 3.8 percent year on year. That means its Epyc processors are selling supremely well against Intel's Xeon chips, and the market that AMD will be most determined to get more of a footing in. 

Datacentres are not quite so fickle as us gaming lot, see.

While 1.8% may appear marginal, it equates to a helluva lot of server chips. In fact, since Intel's server sales were down, AMD managed its highest single-quarter market share gain since 2006, back in the Opteron days.

Clearly it's a good time to be in the business of chipmaking—what with demand soaring to space and showing few signs of slowing. Sadly, however, it's not been great for us gamers as demand sees stock depleted within moments of returning, and often sold on for profit. At least that's mainly graphics cards, and not all CPUs. It's still possible to pick up some of the best CPUs for gaming going.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.