AMD wallops Intel in desktop CPU sales from major retailers – for now

Ryzen 7
(Image credit: Future)

*Update: Intel provided us with a comment on the sales data and analysis reported on in this story, which we have included below. The original unedited story continues after Intel's statement.

Q2 exceeded expectations for Intel, led by record second quarter revenues for our client PC business – including desktop CPUs. 2021 is shaping up to be the largest total addressable PC market ever, and our current product portfolio puts us in position to capitalize on this growth going forward.”*

AMD's new Ryzen processors are dominating the most popular online retailers in the US, accounting for as much as 75% of new desktop CPU sales and filling up the bestseller lists at major online retailers.

Team Red's latest Ryzen 5000-series processors have proven to be wildly popular with builders – a major turn around from years past when Intel Core processors were considered the gold standard for new desktops. 

According to a deep dive by PCGamer, new AMD Ryzen processors fill out the top seven bestselling processors on Amazon and account for eight out of ten overall. Meanwhile, the only two Intel chips in the top ten are both 10th-gen processors, with Intel's latest Rocket Lake Core-series processors not appearing until much further down the list at #37, as of this writing.

On Newegg, Intel does manage to place better with its latest Core i7-11700K processor hitting #5 on the list, with the Core i7-10700K and Core i9-11900K placing at #8 and #9, respectively. Newegg has more of a reputation as a PC component retailer than Amazon, so the rankings of Intel's latest Rocket Lake processors are definitely more reflective of enthusiast interest, which is a good sign for Rocket Lake, at least.

We also reported last week that AMD sales at German retailer Mindfactory accounted for roughly three out of four chips sold, though this was an improvement for Intel as Team Blue only accounted for 14% of sales the month before. Even with this uptick, though, Intel's latest chips do appear to be struggling against AMD's Ryzen 5000 onslaught for desktop CPU market share.

We've reached out to Intel for comment on these latest figures and will be sure to update the story when we hear back from the company.

Intel i9-11900K Processor Shown Back and Front

(Image credit: Intel)

Needless to say, this definitely puts pressure on Alder Lake to perform better than Rocket Lake has so far, but there's some wide latitude for both optimism and pessimism on that front.

Alder Lake processors are going to be Intel's first major push into the big.LITTLE architecture pioneered by ARM that is used in the Apple M1 and Apple M1X chips. This architecture does put a higher emphasis on power efficiency over raw computing power, though it has been making significant strides in the performance department.

Whether that performance increase is enough to entice desktop builders to go with Alder Lake remains to be seen, though the first Alder Lake-S chips are expected to launch later this year specifically for this enthusiast market, so we won't have long to wait.

If Intel is able to pull a silicon rabbit out of a hat on this one, then it might be a whole different story next year given Intel's latest chips will have several months head start over the expected late-2022 launch of AMD Zen 4. 

AMD's next chip will not feature a big.LITTLE architecture, so it will be an interesting – and high states – test of whether Intel is able to out-engineer AMD back into its once-vaunted leadership position.

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.

Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).