Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/10/08/intel_back_in_the_drivers/

Intel 'back in the driver's seat'

AMD needs Hammer

By Drew Cullen

Posted in Channel, 8th October 2002 13:02 GMT

It's not been a good year for CPU makers, but for AMD it has been particularly poor, losing market share in 2002 to the traditional leader Intel.

This year, Intel will account for 81 per cent of desktop processor sales, an "overwhelming lead" which it will maintain through to 2003, In-Stat/MDR forecasts. Worse, for AMD, Athlon XP will not be a"ble to keep pace on speed(with Pentium 4) and will be pushed into competition with Celeron, much as the K6-2 was", the analyst firm says in its latest report on Intel's desktop processor business.

"In the first half of 2002, Intel's Pentium 4 left AMD's Athlon XP in the dust on clock speed, and it will continue to do so as long as Intel is able to convince end users they need a processor that runs at multiple-gigahertz speeds."

This doesn't sound like In-stat/MDR is too convinced about AMD's success in touting performance rating as a more meaningful guide for consumers than clock speed.

But there's an upside. And it's called Hammer, AMD's 64-bit entry. Despite the Intel threat, "AMD's Hammer processor could prove to be a tough competitor in 2003".

Says Kevin Krewell, general manager at In-Stat/MDR: "Once the Hammer family begins to ship in earnest in 1H03, AMD should be able to respond with its own differentiated processor. Until then, Intel is in the driver's seat."

AMD had a good couple of years following the introduction of the Athlon, leaping ahead on performance, while Intel muddled its way through the product transition to Pentium 4. At one point it claimed a market share of close to 30 per cent of processor sales, and Athlon sales held up well in the early stages of the PC doldrum . But in recent quarters it has been hit hard - by the downturn - and renewed competitive vigour from Intel.

Here are some other findings from Instat-MDR. On the technology front.

And now for the market forecasts.