Intel Shows Faint Signs of Life as AMD Dominates Retail CPU Sales

Ever since AMD launched Ryzen, we’ve kept an occasional eye on how the company’s CPUs sell at retail. While the DIY retail market is only a fraction of the total PC space (the typical measure given is ~20 percent), it’s always been AMD’s strongest battleground. New numbers from MindFactory back that up, though Intel’s Core i7-10700K shows some encouraging signs of life.

According to TechEpiphany, MindFactory data continues to show a runaway success for AMD. Keep in mind that MindFactory is one storefront in Europe, and that adoption rates of Intel versus AMD sometimes vary from country to country. Germany is a favorable market for the company, thanks to AMD’s historic presence in Dresden.

With that caveat out of the way, here’s the numbers:

This is a huge reversal from just a few years ago. Here’s what the picture looked like back in 2017:

Compiled by reddit user ingebor, data from Mindfactory, 2017-2018.

Three years ago, AMD had roughly 45 percent of Mindfactory’s retail shipments. This was considered a major achievement for the company, given how badly Piledriver-derived sales had slumped. Intel still had an overall lead on revenue, however, due to higher ASPs.

Intel still leads on ASPs, but the only bright spot in the company’s sales matrix is the Core i7-10700K, though the Core i7-9700K also manages to move some units. Most people would focus on the top of the chart and crow about AMD’s Ryzen 5 3600 sales, but I find the bottom rather more interesting. According to this data, sales of the Ryzen 9 3950X managed to outstrip sales of the Core i3-8100.

If this data were representative of the overall DIY market (and I’m explicitly not making that assumption), it would indicate that users aren’t really building low-end or even mid-range systems with Intel chips. There’s only one budget chip from Intel in the 16-entry list. In contrast, the Ryzen 3 3200G, 3400G, and 3100 are all budget chips.

Intel isn’t going to be unhappy about having higher ASPs (average selling price) than AMD, but higher ASP’s aren’t worth much if you aren’t selling enough volume to make up the difference. Intel has repeatedly adjusted its pricing over the last three years — less with straight price cuts, and more often by introducing new chips at better pricing — but it clearly isn’t enough to counter AMD’s performance in the DIY retail space. Given that Intel still earns the lion’s share of revenue in the PC industry, this may or may not trouble anyone at company headquarters.

The last thing I’ll say about these results is that they suggest Intel’s messaging on being best-in-gaming is having an effect. I don’t think it’s an accident that the two CPUs selling the best are two of Intel’s best-positioned gaming CPUs. The 9700K wasn’t nearly as fast as some of its competitors when new, but it turned in top-notch gaming results. The gap between AMD and Intel has narrowed to virtually nothing, but for those who want every last millisecond of frame time, Intel still has an advantage in some titles.

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