It's not too often that professional system builders share detailed breakdowns of their sales data, but Puget Systems just did, in regards to the split between AMD and Intel rigs. After quietly dropping AMD from its lineup entirely in 2015, AMD systems now account for more than half of the boutique builder's sales.
In a blog post, Puget Labs technician William George provided some insight into the situation, noting that the decision was made to drop AMD half a decade ago because sales of such systems had been slowly declining for a long time.
While that would be an unfathomable decision today, AMD's banishment from Puget's inventory took place before the days of Ryzen, which debuted in 2017. That's when Puget began offering AMD systems again, but it still took some time before consumers showed any meaningful interest in them.
"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 percent of the systems we built to over 50 percent—quite a comeback!," George wrote.
While interesting, that's not shocking. AMD got things rolling with Zen and then Zen+, but really hit its stride with Zen 2 (Ryzen 3000 series on the desktop) and now Zen 3 (Ryzen 5000 series).
What Puget Systems has observed is indicative of a broader trend. Over on Amazon, the top four best selling CPUs right now are all Ryzen processors, and six of the top ten are AMD chips. Here's the breakdown:
- AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
- AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
- AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
- AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
- Intel Core i7 10700K
- AMD Ryzen 5 3600
- Intel Core i7 9700K
- Intel Core i5 9400
- AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
- Intel Core i5 9400F
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It's not Amazon and Puget Systems, either. On the desktop, PassMark Software's CPU benchmark data shows AMD recently overtook Intel in 'market share' for the first time since 2006. The caveat is that PassMark's data is not indicative of actual sales, and instead reflects a benchmarking trend. Nevertheless, it's interesting to see what had been a wide gap come to a close in recent quarters. And it does reflect what enthusiasts and gamers (who are most likely to run a CPU benchmark) are gravitating towards at any given moment.
It will also be interesting to see how this plays out through the rest of the year, and into 2022. Intel is getting ready to launch its 11th Gen Rocket Lake processors, which promise a big uplift in IPC (instructions per clock) performance and upgraded features like PCIe 4.0 support. And towards the end of the year, Intel is expected to launch its hybrid Alder Lake lineup.
In short, the debate over AMD versus Intel is not going to be settled anytime soon, and that's a good thing for consumers.