Intel continued to reclaim server chip market share from Advanced Micro Devices in the fourth quarter of 2006, but the smaller rival's strength with consumers helped it gain in desktops and notebooks.
Overall, AMD continued its gain in the x86 processor market, said Mercury Research analyst Dean McCarron. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company had 25.3 percent of chip shipments in the fourth quarter of 2006, an increase from 23.3 percent from the year-earlier quarter and the highest number in its history.
Intel, based nearby in Santa Clara, Calif., dropped from 76.0 percent to 74.4 percent over the same period, McCarron said.
AMD's gains didn't mean a financial windfall, though. The company's average server chip prices dropped, contributing to AMD's financially difficult quarter. According to AMD, the company's server chip share was 22.2 percent for the quarter, up from 16.4 percent a year earlier but down from 23.6 percent in the third quarter despite price cuts.AMD and Intel both showed gains in x86 processors for servers with four or more chips, McCarron said. That's particularly interesting, he said, because Intel's Xeon 7100 "Tulsa" chip uses the older NetBurst design, not the new, more energy-efficient Core design of Woodcrest.
In 2006, AMD won over Dell, the last of the four major server sellers to use Opteron servers. But Intel also went four for four in January, announcing that a partnership with Sun Microsystems is joining Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Dell in offering Intel-based servers.
AMD fared better in desktops and notebooks than it did with its Opteron server chips. In desktops, fourth-quarter share increased from 24.4 percent to 29.1 percent, and in notebooks, fourth-quarter share increased from 15.1 percent to 19.4 percent.
Given that only a tiny fraction of the x86 chip market goes to other competitors such as Via Technologies or Transmeta, almost all of AMD's gains come at Intel's expense, or vice-versa.