It isn't surprising that shares of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD -1.81%) have displayed terrific momentum over the past six months, especially when compared to chip giant Intel (INTC -0.82%). While Intel stock has lost ground, AMD stepped on the gas thanks to a bunch of solid catalysts that have ensured rapid growth in its revenue and earnings.
Intel, on the other hand, is experiencing some struggles in its key businesses. It won't be surprising to see AMD stock race higher and substantially outpace Intel on the market, as it enjoys a couple of distinct advantages over its bigger rival.
Intel doesn't have access to this huge market
Intel's non-GAAP revenue for the second quarter increased by just 2% year over year to $18.5 billion. That pales in comparison to AMD's impressive year-over-year revenue growth of 99% to $3.85 billion in Q2. This jump was driven by a surge in its enterprise, embedded, and semi-custom (EESC) business segment. That segment produced $1.6 billion in revenue last quarter, an increase of 183% over the prior year, driven by growth in sales of EPYC server processors and semi-custom chips used in gaming consoles.
It is worth noting that AMD's EESC revenue took off over the past year as the latest generation of gaming consoles from Microsoft and Sony went into production. The PlayStation 5 and the Microsoft Xbox Series X/S use its semi-custom chips, giving AMD access to a lucrative market that Intel is missing out on. Intel reportedly tried and failed to snatch the PS5 semi-custom slot away from AMD, and that's turning out to be a key differentiator between their financial performances.
AMD is going to enjoy this catalyst for a long time as the new console cycle is still in its initial stages. The PS5 recently became the fastest-selling PlayStation console with 10 million units sold. It hit that mark three weeks faster than the PlayStation 4. More importantly, the PS5 is expected to sell more than 200 million units in its lifetime, according to Rakuten Securities, far exceeding the PS4's lifetime sales of 116 million units.
In addition, AMD has another growth driver it can count on for its semi-custom business -- it will be supplying chips for the Steam Deck portable gaming PC, which could see it benefit from the lucrative handheld gaming console market. All told, AMD's EESC business is built for long-term growth thanks to the booming market for gaming consoles, as well as the market share gains it has achieved in the server processor space.
Chipzilla is arriving late to the graphics card party
Intel is making a foray into the multibillion-dollar discrete GPU (graphics processing unit) space: It recently revealed that it will be releasing its Arc-branded graphics cards in 2022's first quarter. Codenamed Alchemist, the first generation of Intel's discrete cards is expected to be based on a 7-nanometer manufacturing process. This seems promising for Intel, at least on paper.
NVIDIA and AMD's latest GPU architectures are also based on 7nm manufacturing processes. An identical manufacturing process means that Intel could match its rivals on the technological front and pack in some serious computing power. Third-party reports indicate that the new Intel GPUs could be pitted against mid-range cards from NVIDIA and AMD.
However, AMD is reportedly planning to make the jump to a 5nm manufacturing process next year. Its RDNA3 graphics cards are expected to deliver much more computing power than its current offerings, which could help it counter the incoming competition from Intel. We have already seen how AMD's technological advantages have helped it win market share away from Intel in the CPU (central processing unit) space. Given that Intel's offerings will be behind the manufacturing curve almost as soon as they arrive, its entry into the GPU market may not yield substantial gains either.
AMD held 20% of the discrete GPU market in the first quarter and NVIDIA controlled the rest, according to Jon Peddie Research. AMD can win big if it manages to hold on to its share of the market, as sales of discrete GPUs are expected to increase from $23.6 billion in 2020 to $54 billion in 2025. As Intel is late to this party and its rivals have a firm grip on the discrete GPU market, it remains to be seen if Chipzilla can make its presence felt in this space.
Moreover, given that Intel is losing market share and pricing power in personal computer CPUs and data center chips, it isn't surprising that analysts are lukewarm about its prospects. Its earnings are expected to increase at an annualized rate of 10% through the next five years, while AMD is expected to clock annualized earnings growth of nearly 33% over the same period. As such, investors looking to buy a growth stock in the semiconductor space have solid reasons to skip Intel and go with AMD.