2023 Server CPU Market Share: The Intel vs. AMD Battle for the Top

Updated · Mar 06, 2023

There are so many big companies out there that it’s easy to lose track. Most of them have at least one thing in common, though—massive servers that need to stay up and running.

Consequentially, server CPUs (central processing units) have reached their highest peak of popularity. 

That’s why, we thought it suitable to dive into the server CPU market share and learned all there is to know about it.

Also, if you’ve been living under a rock somewhere—there have been global parts shortages since 2020. So now’s as good a time as any to see how these server CPUs are doing from their inception to the present moment.

Entertaining Facts About the Server CPU Market (Editor’s Choice):

  • Intel delivered 7.71 million server CPUs toward the end of 2021.
  • Intel’s market share in April 2020 was 78.28%, while AMD’s was 21.71%.
  • The AMD market share was 5.9% bigger in Q2 2021 than Q2 2020.
  • In Q4 2021, AMD held 25.6% of the x86 market.
  • In 2021, 471 million x86 CPUs were sold, resulting in a revenue of $74 billion.
  • During Q2 2021, AMD’s data center server market share was 16%.
  • AMD’s server market share increased by 3.8% during Q2 2021.

Intel Market Share

Intel has been dominating the CPU market for as long as we can remember.

But will it manage to keep doing so?

1. Intel almost controlled the entire server industry at one point.

(Source: Bloomberg)

According to Bloomberg, Intel used to own “more than 99%” of the server CPU market share. Even though its dominance has been reduced now, it still controls 89.3% of the market.

One year before these results, AMD’s share was 3.6% smaller. Are we about to see a turnaround?

2. Intel Sapphire Rapids should come out in 2022.

(Source: TechnoSports)

The mass production for the newest Xeon series won’t start before the last quarter of 2022. People believed it would see the light of day way earlier in 2022, though unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

Others claim Sapphire Rapids will come out in Q3 2022. With AMD over Intel in terms of current server market share, we’ll just have to wait and see if this negatively affects the latter.

3. Intel shipped 7,710,000 server CPUs in Q4 2021.

(Source: The Next Platform)

Even though it’s still an underdog, Advanced Micro Technologies is currently advancing at a faster pace than Intel. This, however, does not mean that the Intel server CPU market share is sitting still.

The number of Intel server CPUs on the market signalizes that the company’s share grew by 24.6% in Q4 2021 alone.

AMD Market Share

AMD is still on the losing side, even though it’s been around for as long as Intel.

Is 2022 what the company needs?

4. AMD has supply issues preventing it from creating big demand.

(Source: The Next Platform)

The demand for AMD is not as big as Intel’s for several reasons. It’s not just due to the perception that Intel is the better option for the past years. The truth is, AMD has some issues with its supply, which greatly diminish the product output. It’s actually a Taiwanese company—Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC)—that provides crucial parts for EPYC (AMD’s multi-core x86-64 microprocessors) and faces issues stalling the supply.

Additionally, even in 2022, the server CPU market share is still affected by the 2020 global chip shortage. Consequently, AMD cannot supply enough semiconductors for its flagship CPU series.

All this means Intel has some tremendous wind at its back. And it’s not like it wasn’t in a big enough lead already.

5. AMD was in charge of 16% of data center servers in Q2 2021.

(Source: Tom’s Hardware)

AMD’s server CPU market owes its success to the rise of data center servers. As there are only two big players—AMD and Intel—clashing for a piece of the pie, there’s much more potential for growth. Did you know that in Q2 2021 alone, around 3.4 million data center servers were sold? As demand grew, server markers made an astonishing $21.5 billion.

Nearing the second half of 2021, the AMD server market share was 16%—it’s obviously not an ideal time for the company, but it’s an increase, meaning Intel’s been losing revenue because of this.

6. The AMD Q2 2021 market share was 5.9% bigger than a year before.

(Source: ExtremeTech)

Once again, the TSMC deficiency had an effect—the aforementioned chip shortage stripped away the supply, though the demand didn’t seem lacking. Moreover, even though the AMD vs. Intel (Xeon) stock comparison makes no sense whatsoever, the results are pretty surprising. Apparently, AMD was actually doing a lot better in Q2 2021 than in Q2 2020—5.9%, to be precise.

7. AMD delivered over 1.13 million server CPUs in Q4 2021.

(Source: The Next Platform)

Fortunately, the company managed to recover from the supply decrease. At the end of 2021, it managed to ship over 1.13 million servers, making the AMD server CPU count 82.9% bigger than its 2020 one. For reference, 8.85 million shipped server CPUs were on the market at the time.

X86 CPU Market Share

Before comparing Intel and AMD CPUs head-to-head, we must see how the x86 ones are holding up.

Even though it’s not the latest technology, these, too, were occasionally used for servers, so they’ve at least earned some attention.

8. In Q4 2021, AMD held 25.6% of the x86 CPU market.

(Source: Tom’s Hardware)

Against all odds, the end of 2021 was a marvelous time for AMD. Who it’s got to thank for that? That’d be its server CPU market size and the x86 CPUs—the company’s market share in the latter was 25.6%. Its previous record was from 15 years prior—a 2006’s share of 25.3%. The most significant factor for this rise is the increased shipment of gaming consoles.

9. The x86 processor market grew by 16% in 2021.

(Source: VentureBeat)

Mercury Research is one of the most respected names in terms of component research. Their desktop and server CPU market share analyses are possibly the most relevant of them all. So when the company’s president, Dean McCarron, reports before VentureBeat that the x86 CPU market has grown both revenue and unit-wise, we take things at face value.

Did you know that these CPUs are primarily used for gaming consoles, Chromebooks, and Macs?

10. Throughout 2021, 471 million x86 CPUs were sold for a total sum of $74 billion.

(Source: VentureBeat)

McCarron added that 471 million CPUs were sold in the x86 department alone (numbers are for both revenue and units). This means the revenue increased by 10.7% in 2021—their 2020 income was $66.6 billion.

AMD vs. Intel Market Share

Now that you know the essential details about these two, it’s time we put them side by side and see how they hold up.

11. AMD’s server market share increased by 3.8% during Q2 2021.

(Source: ExtremeTech)

This makes for the largest quarterly jump for the company since 2006. Meanwhile, Intel’s server revenue was shaky at this point. They blamed the decrease in orders on companies installing recently bought equipment. If you ask Intel, this moves the companies’ focus from making purchases.

True or not, given the increased server CPU market share, especially in 2022, AMD is the true winner here. It’s not necessarily a big win, but it is one nevertheless.

12. According to Steam, Intel’s April 2020 CPU share was 78.28%, while AMD’s was 21.71%.

(Source: ExtremeTech)

In comparison, Intel’s April 2021 market share was 70.46%. The remaining 29.54% belonged to Advanced Micro Devices. Both of these stats belong to Steam, which, to be fair, is not the most reliable source for CPU shares as any PC running Steam or any of the games is included in the data.

At least all this shows there are many AMD Steam users. And while it may not directly affect the 2022 server CPU market share, we should think outside the box. As the company’s desktop and laptop market shares have been declining recently, it’s good to see its progress elsewhere.

13. Intel’s CPUs are much more expensive than AMD’s.

(Source: The Motley Fool)

Believe it or not, Intel prices its CPUs aggressively for a good reason. The company’s goal is to make AMD feel threatened and lower its prices on purpose. If you ask them, they’d probably claim this would lead people to think AMD CPUs are less desirable.

While all these tricks and games don’t necessarily have anything to do with server CPU sales right now, in the future, they could. If AMD’s price advantage gets bigger, it may even become the new favorite.

14. AMD EPYC outperforms and is cheaper than Intel Xeon.

(Source: Network World)

People keep making AMD EPYC vs. Intel Xeon CPU comparisons for a good reason. At the time of writing, these are the most popular server CPU series. Interestingly enough, the underdog seems to be at an advantage—EPYC is cheaper and offers better performance. This is probably why the Intel Xeon 2022 market share isn’t as significant as expected.

15. Even though Intel is the more prominent company, AMD’s stock was better positioned at the start of 2022.

(Source: The Motley Fool)

AMD’s price-to-earnings ratio is enormous (four times bigger than Intel’s), thus making it the more attractive stock. This surely has to do with its immeasurable growth. Predictions estimate a 46% yearly growth in its earnings per share for the following years. On the other hand, Intel’s would possibly increase only by 8% per year unless something drastically changes.

Wrap Up

After all is said and done, we can clearly see today’s market conditions for server CPU share the same malaise as all technology: insufficient chps..

What’s more, this holds true for GPUs, and various hardware because of the decreased supply.

Yet, despite all this, Intel and AMD are doing pretty well.

With the latter finally making a breakthrough, it’s getting even more interesting to follow their battle for the top!

Nick Galov
Nick Galov

Unaware that life beyond the internet exists, Nick is poking servers and control panels, playing with WordPress add-ons, and helping people get the hosting that suits them.