Intel, AMD Watch x86 Chip Shipments Jump 10% in Q2

IDC reports x86 processor shipments increased 10 percent in the second quarter of 2009 compared with the previous quarter. Intel again dominated AMD in terms of market share, watching as its Atom processor shipments increased. However, IDC finds that demand for PCs has not returned yet.

The good news for Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and the rest of the x86 processor market is that chip shipments increased 10 percent between the first quarter and the second quarter of 2009.

However, IDC's Aug. 6 report on the x86 chip market found that consumer and business demand for new PCs has not returned. Instead, Intel and its OEM partners drove the growth by adjusting chip inventories and refreshing their lines of mininotebooks or netbooks that use Intel's Atom processors.

This, according to IDC, means that back-to-school PC sales might not be as robust as some believe.

"IDC believes that ODMs and OEMs have balanced out their inventories and so we can't rely on inventory replenishment to drive market improvements," Shane Rau, an IDC analyst, wrote in the report. "Instead, we can only rely on what actual end demand really is, and that means we have to be cautious not to be over-exuberant [and believe] that, say, the traditional back-to-school PC buying season will materialize into a bullish second half. It won't."

In terms of the overall x86 market, Intel once again dominated. In the second quarter, Intel controlled nearly 79 percent of all x86 processor shipments, while AMD controlled about 21 percent. Via Technologies controlled less than 1 percent of the market in the second quarter.

While processor shipments jumped 10 percent from the first to second quarter of 2009, chip unit shipments decreased 7 percent from the second quarter of 2008 to second quarter of 2009. Revenue from the x86 market increased about 8 percent quarter over quarter, but declined approximately 15 percent year over year.

Intel's overall shipments increased 12 percent quarter over quarter, while AMD's increased 1.8 percent. Intel and its OEM partners were helped by a refresh in the mininotebook market.

IDC estimated that one in four of all Intel mobile chip shipments in the quarter were Atom processors, and these chips represented about 8 percent of Intel's mobile processor revenue in the second quarter.

In the three major market segments-mobile, server and desktop-Intel shipped the majority of chips.

The IDC report follows a study by the Semiconductor Industry Association that found the global microprocessor market had improved in the second quarter of 2009 thanks to better-than-expected sales of handsets and PCs, as well as increased sales in China.

An earlier report from Mercury Research also found x86 processor shipments increased about 10 percent in the second quarter of 2009.