Intel Fights Back Workstation Market from AMD

AMD Opteron Share in Workstations Plummets

by Anton Shilov
06/13/2007 | 02:24 PM

Advanced Micro Devices’ positions in the market of workstations have never been really strong primarily due to the fact that not a lot of system builders used AMD’s chips in business-oriented personal computers. While along with popularization of AMD Opteron processors the company’s market share began to increase slowly, the introduction of new dual-core and quad-core Intel Xeon processors have managed to fight nearly everything back.


Back in Q2 2006 the market share of uni-processor (UP) and dual-processor (DP) AMD Opteron workstations was 3.6% and 13.3%, respectively, which was not even close to Intel’s 96.4% and 86.7%, but still was historically highest. But then Intel introduced its Core 2 micro-architecture along with dual-core as well as quad-core processors and started to fight back the lost share, which lead to logical results: Intel Xeon chips commanded 98% of UP and 92% of DP workstations in Q1 2007, whereas AMD Opteron central processing units could be found only in 2% of single-processor and 8% of dual-processor workstation systems, a report from Jon Peddie Research estimates.

“We’d expected AMD’s share to moderate or level off by the time Intel improved its dual-socket Xeon platform in mid-2006, but we hadn’t anticipated the decline we’ve seen. The extent of Intel’s rebound will put that much more pressure on AMD to deliver quad-core Barcelona soon – and with better performance than Xeon,” commented analyst and JPR workstation report author Alex Herrera.

Considering that Intel has been adding more competitive quad-core chips into the lineup recently, it can be expected that Q2 2007 will also bring AMD nothing but losses in the workstation segment. Moreover, as quad-core AMD Opteron chip for UP workstations code-named Budapest is only expected to become available in Q4 2007 at the earliest, Intel’s platforms may capture even higher market share this year.

Overall, the workstation market continues to pleasantly surprise. As expected, quarterly growth rates have subsided a bit from the 25 – 35% increases (year-to-year) JPR had seen in late 2005 and early 2006, but they remain strong. All told, the industry shipped 674 thousand workstations in the Q1 2007, up 15.2% over the same quarter of 2006. Average selling prices (ASPs) held flat, allowing revenue to also increase a healthy 15% to around $1.7 billion, according to the research firm.