AMD smacks Intel on the nose

A Mercury Research study into worldwide processor shipments has been packed full of surprises.

Not only did shipments increase during the third quarter this year, despite an uncertain economy, AMD appears to have gained market share from Intel over last year despite being beset with manufacturing problems.

Shipments of processors during the third quarter went up by five percent compared to last year. While it is not the usual rise it is still not bad.

Dean McCarron, principal analyst at the research firm told PC World that Chipzilla held an 80.6 percent market share which was a small drop from 80.3 percent market share during the third quarter last year. But AMD’s market share was 18.8 percent, growing from 18.3 percent market share last year.

Mercury Research’s figures were looking at x86 systems including laptops, desktops and servers and it looks like the reason AMD has done better has been the release of its Fusion mobile chips for netbooks and laptops.

This is a little surprising as conventional wisdom says Fusion chips are behind Intel’s Sandy Bridge and not doing as well.

McCarron claims that the price of Fusion means that it is getting a wider acceptance among PC makers and buyers.

McCarron said that the average price for PC processors was the highest it had been for nearly five years. The average price of a processor was $107 during the quarter.

But everything was not entirely rosy for AMD –  it lost market share sequentially to Intel. Intel held a 79.9 percent market share during the second quarter, compared to AMD’s 19.4 percent.

AMD’s problems were caused more by manufacturing issues and its chips were in short supply this quarter.

These were caused by GlobalFoundries having problems with chips manufactured using a 32-nanometer process. The yield problems led to a limited supply of AMD’s Fusion chips for mainstream PCs.