The Numbers Behind AMD's 2017 Ryzen Insurgency

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Larry Litmanen

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To me Steam data should be very accurate. It's not like they ask people what they have, Steam simply sees what specs the user has on any given month and reports it. I would say Amazon sales data is not accurate because most people do not buy CPUs, they buy ready made systems. So a sale on Amazon simply means that people who build their own PC chose this or that CPU, that segment of people is not significant compared to overall PC user base.

So when i look at Steam data it shows a MASSIVE decline in the last few months for AMD, they have less than 10% of the market for CPU and GPU respectively. Steam is obviously not an exact measure, not everyone games but i think it is very accurate, numbers on Steam are what they are. If you have an AMD CPU that's what the survey shows.
 

blakerateliff

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Mr. Alcorn. I think the word you are looking for is "Resurgence."

An insurgency is a violent revolt.

A resurgence is a revival or increase after a period of dormancy.

In other words, AMD is making a comeback, not blowing up a crowded marketplace.
 

billy41415

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People are currently buying intel CPUs 50:1 as they have over 96% of the market in desktop, server, and laptop markets
 

billy41415

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People are tired of AMD products. Just look at the other chart. nvidia made huge gains at exactly the same time. Glad everyone is one the same page now. Intel, nVidia, and windows 7 is the way to go

 

zach.hillerson

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I know AMD has said they will keep the socket active for a few years, but what is the likelihood that existing ryzen motherboards will be compatible with refreshes? Technically, the z370 is still the 1151 socket, but requires a new mobo purchase.
 

wownwow

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Paul,

"70% of PCs had a discrete graphics card"

Intel has ~70% of the graphics market, should it be: 30% of PCs had a discrete graphics card?
 

PaulAlcorn

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I am referring to the attach rate for AIBs (listed in the JPR report linked in the article). Intel isn't included in those metrics (but they will be soon enough). It is possible those numbers are skewed, though, as JPR discloses that it is hard to accurately predict the impact of mining on the statistics.
 

jaymc

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Excellent article very informative, clearly a lot of research went into it.
It's new information that we haven't had access to in the tech community up until now that is, much respect !
 

hgchuong

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I wish everyone would give the whole "tick-tock" thing a rest, even Intel has buried that strategy yet everyone feels the need to bring it up once in a while.

I understand Toms's Hardware has a responsiblity the industry to encourage technology sales but there are better ways in doing so.
 

PaulAlcorn

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Ryzen did not exist, so it can't be resurgent. An insurgency is a revolt or uprising by a small group that is not recognized by the powers that be. AMD is much smaller than Intel, and if you've ever listened to Intel's marketing or financial calls, you know they never refer to AMD by name. They pretend as if AMD does not exist. And it's a war for the processor market.
 

ET3D

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Steam data accurately reflects the Chinese market (the most common language on Steam is Simplified Chinese, ~64%). AMD apparently doesn't have much presence in China, either in the CPU or GPU market.

I'm guessing that the results reported in the article similarly reflect the marginalisation of the Western countries, in terms of sales. AMD probably has had quite a resurgence in Europe and North America, but that's not enough to raise its global market share significantly.
 

Steam doesn't check the hardware that everyone is using each month. They only sample a portion of their user base, occasionally popping up a message asking if a user would like to submit their data to the hardware survey for that month. So, the results could vary depending on how those users are selected, and how likely various demographics are to select "yes" or "no" to the request to submit a profile of their system information. Some systems tend to rarely get requests to take part in the survey, while others get asked fairly often, and only Valve knows how these systems are selected.


Amazon's sales numbers could be considered to be reasonably accurate within the context of custom-built desktop systems, at least as much as Steam's survey results could be considered accurate within the context of the subset of systems that have Steam installed. Of course, Steam's results only reflect the segment of PCs that are used for gaming purposes, so that eliminates many other demographics. Most computers in the world are not running Steam, after all.


When I look at the Steam data, it shows me that something either went massively wrong with their survey system in recent months, or the demographic of systems running Steam has massively changed. Just looking at the highlight graphs at the top of the results should show you that. To start with, the market share for both AMD graphics cards and Intel's integrated graphics got cut in half in a little over a month. Did half of those with AMD or Intel graphics suddenly feel the urge to get an nvidia GPU in October? Of course not. A wild swing in installed hardware simply isn't going to happen that quickly, especially when there haven't been any major new product lines released in recent months. For the most part, we're still on the same graphics hardware generation released a year and a half ago, with only minor revisions from both companies since then. And at the same time, you see AMD's CPU market share following an identical trend despite them having a compelling CPU lineup.

If you look a bit further into the rest of the results, you can get a better idea of what's going on here, and it doesn't actually involve AMD's sales decreasing. To start, have a look at the market share for operating systems in use. Back in September, over 50% of Steam users were running Windows 10. Now, that number has plummeted to less than 24% within two months. Over the same period of time, the market share for Windows 7 has surged from 35% up to 70%. Did everyone suddenly decide to drop Windows 10 to go back to Windows 7? Again, obviously not. The market share for Mac and Linux also dropped by more than half during that same period of time.

So, what changed? Have a look down at the language data. Over the last few months, the percentage of Steam users who speak Simplified Chinese has increased from around 17% up to 62% of Steam's user base, while English-speaking Steam users have dropped from around 40% down to just 17%. Basically, Steam's active accounts have more than doubled in the last few months due to a massive influx of Chinese users. So, the change in results reflects the hardware being used by Steam users in China, more than anything. Plus, a very large portion of PC gamers in China play games at Internet cafes, so it's likely that survey results are getting submitted numerous times for each of those public computers, and the results might now be reflecting the hardware being used in Chinese Internet cafes more than anything. Or maybe a bunch of them might even be bot accounts used for grinding gold in free-to-play MMOs or something. It's difficult to say without further data.

Either way, the data no longer reflects the hardware being used by gamers in the western world as much as it did a few months back. I'd love to see regional filtering added to the Steam Hardware Survey in a future revision, much like the existing ability to filter by operating system. As it stands now, the results are simply not relevant for most uses. If a developer wants to optimize a game for the hardware and software their target audience is using, the current data won't be very useful to them unless their primary target market for the game is China. The same goes for analyzing trends, as in this article. If the demographic being surveyed can potentially change drastically from one month to the next, there's little way of telling how much the results are actually changing, and how much they only appear to change due to changes in the Steam user base itself.
 

Dosflores

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Intel doesn't want Coffee Lake to be compatible with older chipsets, but it seems that AMD does want current AM4 boards to be forward compatible, as part of their "we're nicer to our customers" strategy.

AMD did something similar with AM3 processors, which worked on both AM3 and AM2+ motherboards because they had both a DDR3 and a DDR2 memory controller. When AM2+ launched, AMD said you could buy an AM2+ motherboard and be sure that you could upgrade to an AM3 processor in the future. They weren't lying, so it's likely that current AM4 motherboards will also be forward compatible.
 

P1nky

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"Mindfactory.uk" - It's .de.

"AMD to jump to Global Foundries' 7nm process in 2019, possibly with the new Ryzen 2 microarchitecture" - You mean Zen 2.

"Global Foundries" - It's spelled in one word, preferably in all caps.

"That will provide the company with a performance boost, but multiple factors will impact how much of the 10% in transistor-level performance gains" - Anandtech cites a 15% increase in die density vs 14LPP - Source: https://www.anandtech.com/show/11854/globalfoundries-adds-12lp-process-tech-amd-first-customer
 

gggplaya

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When Ryzen APU's hit the market with vega 10 and vega 11 graphics, sales are going to pick up significantly again. Small Form Factor, AIO PC's, and HTPC sales will help boost those numbers. Heck, I think APPLE will pick up the Ryzen APU's at some point thanks to the boost in graphics performance for photo and video editing as well as rendering.
 

jimmysmitty

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Not quite a revolution. More of a catch up and compete.

Revolution was K8 or Core 2. Massive leaps over competitor and own products.



Windows 7 needs to die. It is an old OS that uses old ideas. 10 is the way forward.



People bring it up because it was a great strategy. It allowed Intel to take and keep the performance, power and feature edge from AMD for a long while.



I will wait and see. Compatibility is more than just the pins in the socket.



Maybe, maybe not. It all depends on a lot more than just "it has the best iGPU". I am still waiting to see Ryzen in the mobile market since laptops are a big market for Intel and Ryzen will have bigger competition there since Intel will have 10nm out there first.
 
I find the 70% discrete graphics hard to believe. Have desktop sales changed that much? It seems that most models just include integrated graphics. Is that just those targeted to consumers? Do the models sold to businesses generally have discrete graphics?

If that is 70% AMD. That makes sense. As integrated graphics on an AMD desktop is still limited to an ancient APU. As they haven't made the transition to 14nm.
 

PaulAlcorn

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Good eye (ouch). The performance increase with 12nm LP is 10%, we did not mention the density improvement (15%).
 

Kennyy Evony

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The only time I'm buying an AMD chip is when AMD learns the meaning of power efficiency and beats Intel at it. In other words, when pigs fly.
 

TJ Hooker

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Ryzen is already beating Intel in power efficiency in some cases, both in absolute power draw and perf/watt...
 

jaymc

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Well not so sure about that... Intel is loosing their process lead. An it looks like their in trouble in the data centers aswell... If GF goes to 7nm on schedule they will be in big trouble on every front !

Remember this is Zen's first generation (it hasn't even been shrank or modified once).. An it struck very close to bone performance wise regardless... Core is in it's 8th now.. their pushing that uArch to the max ! An their 10nm is well... delayed, delayed, delayed.
From where I'm sitting it certainly looks like their struggling an 2019 is gonna be another very tuff year for Intel.
An with a shrink of Epyc on the way (also a possible doubling of the core count) an a Ryzen shrink for that matter..
They are also developing an MCM approach with their GPU's... plus they are the only company with a decent solution for both X86 an GPU compute... As a result of that their APU's will be savage, there only getting started with Ryzen Mobile, an it is going to make some big waves next year also !
It looks like their just might be a changing of the guard in the next year or two.
So I guess the jury is out on it for now... but, We Shall See !

Viva La Revolution :D
 
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