AMD Making Gains Among Hot-Rod PC Builders

Advanced Micro Devices has been selling its new line of Ryzen chips for only a few months, but appears to be making gains against rival Intel in at least one key market segment.

The PC benchmarking site of Passmark Software reports tests involving AMD CPUs accounted for almost 26% of all x86-compatible submissions in the latest quarter, up from under 21% in the prior quarter and under 18% in the same quarter a year ago. The data is compiled from Windows PC owners who choose to use the site to test the speed of their computing rigs, so it’s not necessarily representative of the entire market.

Still, the PC enthusiast segment, comprised mainly of video game players and amateur or semi-professional photographers and videographers, is a key target of AMD CEO Lisa Su’s new strategy. Su tossed out much of AMD’s prior chip plans when she took over at CEO in 2014 and focused the company on developing cutting-edge, high-performance chips for PC, servers and graphics cards.

The Passmark recent uptick—AMD has increased its share of the tests on the site for four quarters in a row—marks substantial progress after a decade of declining market share. Back in 2006, AMD peaked at 48% of tests, nearly reaching Intel’s 52% share, before heading down for most of the next 10 years.

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The news appeared to give shareholders a boost as well. After losing 16% since June 22 through Monday, AMD’s stock price closed up almost 9% on Wednesday.

AMD (AMD) unveiled its Ryzen chips aimed at enthusiasts and others wanting high-performance PCs starting in February, with a server chip dubbed Epyc introduced last month. Coming soon are new graphics cards with AMD’s Vega chip and souped-up version of Ryzen called Ryzen Threadripper.

Intel (INTC) announced its own new high-end chips under the Core i9 brand and promised a Threadripper competitor called the i9 “Extreme Edition,” which is expected to hit the market in October.

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