Intel's Atom processor, which is used in netbooks, helped PC microprocessor makers sell record numbers of chips during the third quarter, although the overall value of the market fell, according to market researcher IDC.
The PC processor market has made a remarkable recovery since the start of the year, IDC said.
Unit shipments rose by 23 per cent quarter-over-quarter, according to IDC. Even more important is that sales grew by 0.3 per cent or 220,000 units compared to the third quarter last year, which also was a record breaker, it said.
The low-cost Atom processor may have helped to boost unit growth, but it also meant vendors were on average paid less for their products. The average sales price per processor dropped by 7 per cent compared to the second quarter and by 10 per cent year-over-year, according to IDC
Intel's unit market share grew to 81.1 per cent, up 2.2 percentage points since the second quarter, while AMD's dropped 1.9 percentage points to 18.7 per cent.
VIA Technologies' already small market share dropped even further, to 0.2 per cent of units shipped, down from 0.5 per cent last quarter, and 0.6 per cent a year earlier.
IDC is becoming more optimistic about the future, and now expects over 300 million [m] processors to ship in 2009. That would be a 1.5 per cent increase compared to 2008. That projection is dependent on continuing growth in China, which so far this year has been helped by government incentives.