AMD EPYC Server CPU Share Rose To 8.9% In Q1 2021, Largest Gain Against Intel Since 2006

AMD has witnessed its largest server market share jump with its EPYC CPUs in Q1 2021. In data published by Mercury Research (via CRN), it is reported that the chipmaker saw its largest share increase against Intel since 2006.

AMD EPYC Server CPU Market Share Races Ahead, Witnesses Largest Gain Against Intel Since 2006

It is reported by the research company that AMD’s server CPU share which comprises its EPYC business grew 1.8 points to 8.9 percent during the previous quarter. The market share was 3.8 points higher than Q1 2020 which shows the demand for EPYC CPUs in the data center segment.

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The president of Mercury Research, Dean McCarron, went on to tell CRN that the Q1 2021 market share growth is the fastest since Q2 2006, back when Opteron was still competitive and giving Intel a tough time in the server segment. AMD did claim that it had hit double-digit server market share last year but it is pointed out that those were only specific to single and dual-socket servers which tend to be AMD’s primary focus and don’t include servers for network and storage.

“This explains how AMD reported in its earnings that it had record server and client revenues, even though units were down in client and server units are far from the company’s record shipments of 15 years ago,” he said in an email to CRN.

Dean McCarron, President of Mercury Research

AMD Q2 2020 x86 CPU Market Share (via Mercury Research):

  Q1 2021 Q4 2020 Q3 2020 Q2 2020 Q1 2020 Q4 2019 Q3 2019 Q2 2019 Q1 2019 Q4 2018 Q3 2018 Q2 2018 Q1 2018
AMD Desktop CPU Market Share TBA 19.3% 20.1% 19.2% 18.6% 18.3% 18.0% 17.1% 17.1% 15.8% 13.0% 12.3% 12.2%
AMD Mobility CPU Market Share TBA 19.0% 20.2% 19.9% 17.1% 16.2% 14.7% 14.1% 13.1% 12.2% 10.9% 8.8% N/A
AMD Server CPU Market Share 8.9% 7.1% 6.6% 5.8% 5.1% 4.5% 4.3% 3.4% 2.9% 4.2% 1.6% 1.4% N/A
AMD Overall x86 CPU Market Share TBA 21.7% 22.4% 18.3% 14.8% 15.5% 14.6% 13.9% N/A 12.3% 10.6% N/A N/A

With EPYC Milan already launched and Rome already powering several datacenters and super-computers, AMD is in a very strong position than they were with Opteron. Sure, the gains have been steady and not as drastic as we thought they would have but it’s a stepping stone for AMD, and each quarter pushes them further ahead in their goal to become a leader in the server CPU segment and so far, EPYC chips have proved that they are well-suited for this job & getting better each passing generation.

Alexey Stolyar, CTO of International Computer Concepts, a Northbrook, Ill.-based system integrator, told CRN that he doesn’t think AMD will repeat its previous rise-and-fall trajectory with EPYC because of CEO Lisa Su’s strong leadership and vision for the company. He also doesn’t think AMD will make the same mistake it did with its 2012 acquisition of SeaMicro, whose server products were killed off in 2015.

“I don’t think they had a clear vision last time,” he said. “Is Intel going to come back and have a competitive product? Sure. But at that point, you’re going to have two big players, and people are going to have to do more testing to see what product is better for them.”

The bigger question is what the rise of Arm CPU architectures in the data center may mean for both AMD and Intel, with Nvidia, Amazon, Microsoft and others moving to make Arm-based CPUs.

“I think that’s going to be a question of how well can Nvidia or whoever’s pushing Arm develop their tool sets to really enable the community for development,” Stolyar said.

via CRN

As we move forward, AMD will also be facing off against ARM-based CPUs from major server players such as NVIDIA. NVIDIA recently introduced its Grace ARM CPU which is designed for modern datacenter and AI workloads. Grace and ARM CPUs pose a threat to both Intel & AMD, however, Intel’s CEO has already stated that they are taking an offensive approach against the competing ARM-based solutions. It looks like AMD is going to take a similar approach & fire back with its own custom EPYC CPUs but as of right now, there’s not much to worry about.

As for what’s next, AMD has a strong portfolio of next-generation EPYC CPUs in its pockets. The 4th Gen EPYC Genoa chips are planned to be announced next year and will feature the brand new Zen 4 core architecture and a host of other features to tackle Intel’s Sapphire Rapids & Granite Rapids Xeon CPUs.

AMD EPYC CPU Families:

Family Name AMD EPYC Naples AMD EPYC Rome AMD EPYC Milan AMD EPYC Genoa
Family Branding EPYC 7001 EPYC 7002 EPYC 7003 EPYC 7004?
Family Launch 2017 2019 2021 2022
CPU Architecture Zen 1 Zen 2 Zen 3 Zen 4
Process Node 14nm GloFo 7nm TSMC 7nm TSMC 5nm TSMC
Platform Name SP3 SP3 SP3 SP5
Socket LGA 4094 LGA 4094 LGA 4094 LGA 6096
Max Core Count 32 64 64 96
Max Thread Count 64 128 128 192
Max L3 Cache 64 MB 256 MB 256 MB 384 MB?
Chiplet Design 4 CCD’s (2 CCX’s per CCD) 8 CCD’s (2 CCX’s per CCD) + 1 IOD 8 CCD’s (1 CCX per CCD) + 1 IOD 12 CCD’s (1 CCX per CCD) + 1 IOD
Memory Support DDR4-2666 DDR4-3200 DDR4-3200 DDR5-5200
Memory Channels 8 Channel 8 Channel 8 Channel 12 Channel
PCIe Gen Support 64 Gen 3 128 Gen 4 128 Gen 4 128 Gen 5
TDP Range 200W 280W 280W 320W (cTDP 400W)

Which server lineup do you think will offer the best feature set for enterprise markets?

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