Chip Market Grows As Intel Dominates, IDC Finds


Worldwide sales and shipments of PC microprocessor units saw uncharacteristic growth during the second quarter of 2010, IDC has found

The second quarter of 2010 has proved to be an excellent quarter for chip makers, with a notable increase in worldwide PC microprocessor unit shipments and revenues, IDC has reported.

While unit-shipment change between first and second quarters generally averages 1.6 percent, and revenue change averages a decrease of -2.8 percent, the 2010 second quarter saw increases of 3.6 and 6.2, respectively.

Strong First Half

“Such sequential increase in PC processor shipments alone would have been enough to conclude that the first half was strong for the market,” Shane Rau, an IDC director of research, said in a statement.

The additional rise in revenues, Rau noted, points to a rise in average selling prices.

“System makers bought more and higher-priced PC processors in 2Q10 than in 1Q10,” Rau added. “Digging a little deeper into the numbers shows that they bought more mobile processors and more server processors, while desktop processors remained flat.”

More specifically, quarter-over-quarter mobile PC processor unit shipments rose 6.5 percent, PC server processors rose 6.1 percent and desktop PC processor fell by 0.1 percent.

Intel Dominates, Naturally

In all form-factor categories, Intel dominated worldwide market share. In the mobile PC processor segment, it held 86.1 percent market share, dropping 1.7 percent from the quarter before. Behind it, AMD jumped to 13.7 percent market share, up from 12.1 percent the quarter before, and VIA Technologies followed in a far third position, with 0.2 percent of the market.

In the overall PC microprocessor unit segment, Intel led with 80.7 percent share, followed by AMD with 19 percent and VIA with 0.3 percent. No. 2 AMD, however, performed slightly better in the worldwide desktop PC microprocessor space, with 27.3 percent market share during the second quarter to Intel’s 72.2 percent and VIA’s 0.5 percent.

In the x86 server microprocessor segment, Intel again dominated, with a 93.5 percent share, up from the previous quarter’s 90.2 percent, followed by AMD with 6.5 percent, which was down from 9.8 percent the quarter before.

Looking Ahead

For the full year 2010, IDC is forecasting a growth of 19.8 percent for the worldwide PC processor market.

“Major OEMs cut PC build orders with their contract manufacturers who, in turn have cut orders for commodity components. While the PC processor vendors reiterated their solid outlook during their most recent earnings calls, the softness we’ve seen ultimately makes us concerned for end demand’s pull on processors,” explained Rau. “Likely, the second half of the year will be seasonal, given the early build for Intel’s Sandy Bridge and AMD’s Fusion architecture launches, but lower than the year-over-year growth seen in the first half of the year.” 

Intel’s 32-nanometer “Sandy Bridge” processor platform will replace its “Nehalem” platform and are expected to begin appearing in desktops and notebooks in early 2011. Key features will include Intel’s AVX (Advanced Vector Extension) instructions, which reportedly improve speeds for image, video and audio processing. 

AMD’s Fusion processors create what the company calls APUs – accelerated processing units. These reportedly bring together CPU, GPU, video processing and other accelerator capabilities on a single die. Two versions – “Llano” and a lower-power model called “Ontario” – will be released in early 2011.

In terms of sustainable unit growth going forward, said IDC’s Rau, “2011 remains a wildcard.”

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