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7/31/2006
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AMD's Opteron Gains Ground Against Intel

Advanced Micro Devices keeps momentum going for its Opteron processor, growing its share of the x86 server processor market in 2Q.

Advanced Micro Devices has kept the momentum going for its Opteron processor, growing its share of the x86 server processor market to nearly 26% in the second quarter, according to Mercury Research.

AMD's x86 server market share in the second quarter was 25.9%, according to the research firm, up from 22.1% in the first quarter, allowing the company to further temper Intel's dominance in the x86 market.

Total x86 market share figures for the second quarter weren't available from Mercury as of Monday morning. AMD has seen its greatest success in the x86 wars with Intel in the server market, where it got a jump on Intel in providing dual-core options, and has held a performance per watt leadership for much of the past two years.

Intel's recent introduction of its Core architecture-based Woodcrest platform for servers is expected to bring it into performance parity or perhaps in a leadership position against AMD, and help stem the tide of AMD's advance. AMD's gains in the server market, particularly in the four-way market, was a key reason Dell earlier this year announced it would break with its Intel-only policy and introduce a server based on AMD's Opteron later this year.

How quickly Intel can use Woodcrest to slow down or reverse the AMD gains is debatable, says Nathan Brookwood, an analyst with Insight 64. Intel will need some time to transition its production over to the new processors and get significant volumes into the market.

"There aren't that many Woodcrest-based servers out there yet," Brookwood says. "You can't turn off the old products overnight and turn on the next generation processors. These things take a while to work through the factories."

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