Although 2000 is turning out to be a mixed year for PC unit growth, Intel dominated the chip market by units, grabbing a whopping 83 per cent, with AMD second at 16 per cent and Via pulling in a mere one per cent.
According to new figures from MicroDesign Resources, 2000 was the year of AMD versus Intel as Via fell "off the face of the earth" and Transmeta failed to make any real impression.
Kevin Krewell, an analyst at MicroDesign, said that AMD was in the right place at the right time with its Athlon processor in the fourth quarter of 1999, but that Intel gained share with its Celeron offering, and improved margins with its fast Coppermines - all at the expense of Via and Cyrix.
"AMD's K6-2 processor faded but Duron was strong on performance against Intel's Celeron," he said, adding that "the Athlon surpassed Coppermine on both speed and performance".
For the coming year, both AMD and Intel have made the jump to 1Ghz speed with little difficulty. But Krewell felt that AMD's roadmap, which included putting too many chips into the marketplace, appears to be setting the company up for a fall.
Krewell also expressed concerns about Taiwan-based Via. "It never shipped its Joshua processor and its follow on, the Jalapeno, is dead," he explained. The next processor design from the company will have higher speeds and some superscalar features, and the integrated product could sell well at the low end and in information appliances. "Unfortunately, Via has a bad track record on chip introductions," he said.
Transmeta, the latest challenger to the big guns, had some design wins at Sony, Casio and Hitachi, but apparent losses at IBM and Compaq demonstrated that the corporate space is not convinced about the company's low power processors. "Transmeta has had trouble meeting its performance and battery life claims," said Krewell.
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