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 percent quarter-over-quarter, according to IDC. Even more important is that sales grew by 0.3 percent 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 percent compared to the second quarter and by 10 percent year-over-year, according to IDC
Intel's unit market share grew to 81.1 percent, up 2.2 percentage points since the second quarter, while AMD's dropped 1.9 percentage points to 18.7 percent.
VIA Technologies' already small market share dropped even further, to 0.2 percent of units shipped, down from 0.5 percent last quarter, and 0.6 percent a year earlier.
IDC is becoming more optimistic about the future, and now expects over 300 million processors to ship in 2009. That would be a 1.5 percent increase compared to 2008. That projection is dependent on continuing growth in China, which so far this year has been helped by government incentives.