back to article Hmm, there's something fishy about this graph charting AMD's push into Intel's server turf

Semiconductor-pokers at Mercury Research have crunched the numbers to chart AMD's resurgence against Intel's virtual x86 server CPU monopoly. Aaron Rakers, senior analyst at Wells Fargo, has seen the second 2018 quarter numbers. He told The Register: "Intel's server CPU share is estimated to have declined to 98.7 per cent vs …

  1. ArrZarr Silver badge
    Happy

    That graph is an amazing example of misleading axes. Tempted to use it as an example of dodgy stats.

    1. Joe Werner Silver badge

      (misleading stats)

      I came here to say the exact same thing. Another example why two y-axes in a single graph are misleading at best...

      1. Baldrickk Silver badge

        Re: (misleading stats)

        It'd be "fine" if the scales were the same, but they're not making it impossible to understand properly. You can't even compare the gradients / rate of change.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: (misleading stats)

        I've got to disagree; the two axis are clearly labelled, indicating the different windows and scaling, so there's really nothing 'misleading' about them.

        People will only be mislead if they don't pay attention.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: (misleading stats)

          I've got to disagree

          Sort of. If you plotted those two graphs to the same scale with the same y=0 point you would find it difficult to see any useful information. It would have been far better to keep the scale while setting different y=0 points. I think if you did that you'd find the two graphs mirrored each other pretty much exactly, which I would have thought was the whole point of the comparison - every server sale lost by Intel is a gain by AMD, or are there other x86 vendors in the market whose figures should be added to the mix? Not in the market myself, so wouldn't know.

          M.

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: (misleading stats)

            "or are there other x86 vendors in the market whose figures should be added to the mix?"

            No, but there are other chips that aren't AMD64 compatible that could be used in some cases. The Itanic is I believe still shipping, and probably someone is using it. ARM is another option

            1. eldakka Silver badge

              Re: (misleading stats)

              No, but there are other chips that aren't AMD64 compatible that could be used in some cases. The Itanic is I believe still shipping, and probably someone is using it. ARM is another option

              Also Power and SPARC (tho the latter is in a serious state of decline).

        2. Jon 37

          Re: (misleading stats)

          > People will only be mislead if they don't pay attention.

          That old chestnut. "If you'd carefully read the contract, on page 97 out of 233, in tiny print, in grey-on-slightly-lighter grey, in Latin, we clearly explain it. If you were foolish enough to rely on the summary given by the salesperson instead of reading the contract and getting people to translate the Greek and Latin parts, then that's your lookout".

          1. the Kris

            Re: (misleading stats)

            Failed comparison.

            You're comparing a paragraph hidden in a 233 page document, which we can call a surprise needle in a haystack, to axis that are extremely clear. The fact that the 1st comment is about the axis shows just that, it is not hidden.

            If the axis both went from 0% to 100% it would virtually show no information, that would be a useless graph.

            You sound like the type of person who needs a warning on a box of razor blades: "Do not swallow, external use only", to prevent you from doing just that.

            I can agree with the comment to have them at the same scale.

        3. Roj Blake Silver badge

          Re: People will only be mislead if they don't pay attention

          So a bit like the Brexit referendum then?

          1. DJO Silver badge

            Re: People will only be mislead if they don't pay attention

            It's from Wells Fargo; expect duplicity and misleading presentation.

      3. Schultz
        Go

        Re: (misleading stats)

        Come on guys, it's a fishy graph. The only valid critique is that the eye is missing.

    2. fobobob

      If they did it some other way, it wouldn't look very much like a fish, now would it?

    3. navidier

      https://www.amazon.co.uk/Visual-Display-Quantitative-Information/dp/0961392142

      I consider it essential reading for any PhD student in the numerate sciences.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Tufte

        And his lectures are great too. Worth a trip.

  2. analyzer
    Happy

    Headline did say

    Maybe the fishy axes are the cause of the headline ;-)

  3. Ed3

    What a load of carp!

    You know what you must do!

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: What a load of carp!

      There's really no plaice in the modern world for graphs like that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a load of carp!

      I tried to come up with a snapper comeback, but I started to flounder. Walleye was thinking on my perch, the sole answer I came up with turned out to be a herring.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: What a load of carp!

        Enough of these crabby comments!

    3. fobobob

      Re: What a load of carp!

      I'm just going to be here, quietly judging your puns from up on my perch...

      1. choleric

        Re: What a load of carp!

        I, however, am getting very annoyed with all this click bait and am about to open a can of woopbass.

  4. Anne-Lise Pasch

    Maybe Cray should make a comeback. They'd fit the paradigm.

  5. Jared Vanderbilt

    Two sine waves 180 degrees out of phase

    or a lot of fishes head to tail. The inevitable graphical representation of sales share in a duopoly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Two sine waves 180 degrees out of phase

      But it isn't a duopoly. It's a monopoly, since Intel has all the power and AMD is more or less in the noise. As the article says, it is not feasible that AMD could get even 5% of market share in any really foreseeable timeframe.

      Monopolies maintain their power through barriers to entry, and in Intel's case there are many of these none of which can go away at all quickly.

      1. Joe Werner Silver badge

        Re: Two sine waves 180 degrees out of phase

        If it was a duopoly they would not have to cheat with the axes... As somebody above wrote: AMD is just the noise on Intel's sales.

        In a case like this I believe Tufte and others would recommend using

        - a single graph showing a stack (not the best, you absolutely need to include the zero)

        - two graphs stacked (ditto)

        - a single graph showing AMD as a percentage of Intel sales

        In principle one line is (as per the duopoly comment) redundant anyway...

  6. More Granularity

    Lisa Su Comment

    During the Q2 earnings last week, Lisa was asked if the prediction for ~5% AMD capture of the server market in Q4 was still accurate, and she confirmed it.

    One way for that to be true is for the linear extrapolation of the graph to be incorrect. The growth has to be nonlinear. For example, by doubling each quarter:

    2Q18: 1.3%

    3Q18: 2.6%

    4Q18: 5.2%

    Doubling may be reasonable because the large server customers have a long qualification process, followed by large purchases. That may be what is happening.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lisa Su Comment

      An interesting point of comparison would be the last time AMD made a big entrance into the X86 server with HP back around 2004 or so, and look at the rate of market-share gain back then. I don't have the data but my recollection was that they gained share much more quickly back then which basically traumatized Intel, drove lots of exec changes at Intel etc.

    2. msroadkill

      Re: Lisa Su Comment

      To this layman, it seems common sense it is more like a snowball than linear, more so given the nature of the whole server ecosystem.

      It was announced in march 2017, but only publicly available recently. Its a slow process while everybody tests the water, but when a few take the plunge, many follow.

      Of course it is exponential.

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