AMD picked up a couple of market share points on Intel in the third quarter, as the firm secured its strongest competitive position in years, according to Mercury Research.
Intel shipped 80.8 percent of all desktop, notebook and server processors using the x86 instruction set in Q3, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury. AMD's share of that market was 17.8 percent. In Q3 last year, Intel held 82.1 percent and AMD 15.9.
AMD gained share in every segment of the market, McCarron said. He noted that AMD's presence in the server market is beginning to pay off and the company now has a notebook processor in its Turion chip that is starting to attract attention.
"I don't think this paints a picture of Intel as weak, it's just that AMD is considerably stronger than it used to be," McCarron said.
Intel has taken some knocks this year on the server side of the processor market. AMD released a dual-core Opteron processor in April, while Intel's first dual-core server chips did not emerge until last month. Industry executives from companies such as HP and Dell believe Intel's Xeon chips lag behind AMD's Opteron chips in server performance, a factor that has been credited for AMD's market share rise this year.
AMD's high-water mark in the x86 processor market came in Q2 2001, when the company shipped 21.8 percent of x86 processors. However, that figure was driven largely by desktop processors, whereas the company's current product lineup is much more diverse, McCarron said.