Intel CPUs are clawing back sales as AMD seemingly stalls

Promotional Graphic For Intel's Core Series Processors
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel is making serious headway in the desktop CPU market, going by some fresh evidence from two separate sources.

As VideoCardz highlights, these are stats pertaining to buyers of standalone desktop CPUs in Japan, and also the breakdown of processor share obtained from PassMark (the popular benchmarking software).

Let’s start with PassMark, which compiles stats based on the systems using its benchmarking tools, and in the CPU category, has found that in recent times, Intel has been surging upwards.

To be precise, in Q3 and Q4 of last year, Intel’s share of CPUs has increased from around 50% to almost 60%, a pretty big swing in Team Blue’s favor for the second half of 2021, as PassMark pointed out on Twitter.

Note that those stats are for all desktop PCs, of course, whereas the second batch of figures is for DIY sales only (standalone CPUs, not prebuilt machines), and comes from Japan.

Going by the analysis of the Japanese market as carried out by BCNR, Intel desktop processor sales have been on the rise since mid-2021 (again), with sales of Core i5 CPUs booming in particular, and also Core i7 models up fairly strongly, with a marked decline in AMD’s sales powerhouse which is Ryzen 5 chips.

Earlier in 2020, Ryzen 5 sales in Japan crested over 40% market share (briefly), but have since sunk to just 12.6% of the market in January 2022, with Core i5 processors from Intel surging to 35.7% in the same month (and Core i7 hitting 25%).

Analysis: Is AMD set to stagnate further near-term, losing more share to Intel?

Both these sets of figures show that from mid-2021 – or actually, slightly earlier than that in Japan – Intel has witnessed a marked increase in CPU market share. Of course, even two separate sources are hardly representative of the whole desktop processor market (remember, the Japan stats apply to standalone or DIY sales only), but we have seen Intel making progress elsewhere.

For example, German retailer MindFactory showed Intel hitting a 30% CPU share in November 2021, the highest level seen all year (previously, Team Blue had only managed to secure a 25% share at best for CPU sales from this retail outlet). Alder Lake certainly made a difference in those figures, and is no doubt at least part of the reason for the gains seen in the two reports we talked about above – the new hybrid tech-toting processors have been well-received on the whole.

AMD may also have been slipping due to its own issues with supply and production of processors, and the lack of any fresh Ryzen blood for a good long time now. All we’ve had is a reveal of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D as a stopgap chip, and rumor has it that even this single processor could be very thin on the ground when it launches (we’re not even sure when that’ll be, either).

The danger for AMD is that it just stagnates and Intel carves even further into its desktop CPU territory. And to top all this off, there’s the threat of Intel getting next-gen Raptor Lake chips out in good time later this year – maybe in September, and potentially before AMD’s Zen 4 CPUs arrive, which would be even more damaging for Team Red’s sales. No wonder some other speculation holds that AMD is really trying to ramp up the launch schedule for Zen 4.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).