Why AMD Ryzen hasn't boosted its market share by 10%

Chip growth is still "nice", but not as impressive as stats suggest

AMD's new Ryzen chips appear to have driven an 8% boost in the company's market share against rival Intel, according tobenchmark data collected by PassMark Software.

PassMark uses data collated through its PerformanceTest benchmarking tool to keep a running tally of the how the two major x86 processor companies stack up in terms of relative market share, based on how many users are submitting benchmarks using their chips.

Its information shows that over the past six months since Ryzen's launch in Q1 2017, the amount of AMD processors being tested by users has risen by 8%. According to PassMark's data, this represents the company's biggest share growth in over a decade.

However, market watchers may want to temper their enthusiasm and take this news with a rather large pinch of salt. As analyst Paulo Santos pointed out in an article on Seeking Alpha, the sample these figures are based on is deeply unrepresentative of the wider CPU market.

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PassMark's data is based on desktop chips used in high-end enthusiast gaming PCs, which is less than a third of the total processor market. Furthermore, it's reliant on people running and submitting benchmarks, meaning the data could be skewed towards gamers who are interested to know how their brand-new Ryzen CPU stacks up to the already tried-and-tested Intel offerings.

"While Ryzen should have led to some market share gains by AMD, these gains were certainly not [nearly] 10% of the market," Santos said. "Instead, it's more likely that they were 1-2% of the market, which is still a nice achievement - but not 10%. The 10% is basically the result of a self-selected sample distorting the actual Ryzen success."

He added: "For Intel, this is the start of continued market share, price and margin pressure. Even if Intel wards off AMD's pressure in terms of chip performance (which seems likely from its new enthusiast chips), the financial pressure will still be present."

However, while AMD may not have clawed back as much of its former market share as it initially appeared, the uptick still represents a significant win for the chipmaker. The enthusiast segment is a high-value one. Success here could indicated that the company is on track to begin reclaiming other areas of the market, too - particularly with the expansion of the Ryzen range to include more affordable mid-range processors.

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