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5/29/2007
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Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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With Toshiba Turion Laptop Deal, AMD Regains Ground On Intel

AMD has released additional information surrounding its important design win announced early Tuesday, in which Toshiba said it would ship laptops equipped with processors from the Avis of chip makers. As was the case when Dell opted for AMD, it's big industry news anytime a major PC manufacturers diverges from an Intel-only strategy. For AMD, the big challenge remains making such market advances stick, as opposed to the two-steps forward, one-step backwards dance it's been doing for the past fe

AMD has released additional information surrounding its important design win announced early Tuesday, in which Toshiba said it would ship laptops equipped with processors from the Avis of chip makers. As was the case when Dell opted for AMD, it's big industry news anytime a major PC manufacturers diverges from an Intel-only strategy. For AMD, the big challenge remains making such market advances stick, as opposed to the two-steps forward, one-step backwards dance it's been doing for the past few years.First the specific news, and it's pretty succinct: Toshiba will launch three Satellite laptops using AMD's dual-core mobile Turion 64 X2 processor and AMD's M690 core-logic chipset. The notebooks will hit first in the United States and Europe.

More interesting is the timing of this announcement. It seems to cement the perception that AMD is about to rebound from its recent bout of bad news. As VARBusiness's Shelley Solheim explains in her fine piece, AMD Attempts To Rebound From Its Short Circuit, the scrappy chipmaker is reeling from a big financial loss earlier this year as well as a drop in its market share.

Mostly, AMD has been hurt by a resurgent Intel. After several years of missteps, Intel CEO Paul Otellini has gotten the company back on track. Intel's Core 2 Duo line successful beat back AMD's early lead in dual-core technology. On the quad-core front, Intel was ahead of AMD. Now, Intel is expected to be first with 45-nm chip technology.

Still, AMD has got a potent quad-core architecture of its own in the works, in the form of its upcoming Phenom desktop quad and "Barcelona" server processor.

Since 2003, when AMD released its AMD64 architecture, and then the associated Opteron and Athlon processor families, the question has never been about the company's technology. Instead, it's about the survival of a smaller company in the face of an increasingly competitive business, against a far larger rival.

Intel's sheer heft gives it the ability to ride out tough business environments and the occasional technological misstep. AMD doesn't have such luxuries. How the quad-core race and the shift to 45-nm processes play out will ultimately have more to say about the long-term fate of AMD than today's Toshiba news, however welcome that may be.

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