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Dell Offers Its First AMD Servers

Can the chipmaker still deliver the performance differences it once did?
The next year will determine if struggling Dell has hitched a ride on a comet or is catching a fading star. This week, Dell rolls out its first servers based on Opteron processors from Advanced Micro Devices, months after offering its first AMD-based PCs.

chart: Dell's Downer -- Third-quarter PC shipments worldwide.


Dell was puzzlingly slow to partner with AMD, one of many factors that have let computer rivals catch up. Hewlett-Packard inched by it as the largest provider of PCs in the world during the third quarter, Gartner and IDC said last week. And in the second quarter, Sun Microsystems passed Dell to move into third place in worldwide server revenue.

AMD fared better last week, announcing a 32% jump in quarterly revenue from the same period a year ago, even as Intel reported a 35% decline in revenue. AMD has a lot to offer, says Jay Parker, director of worldwide enterprise marketing for Dell. "We expect to see performance gains on the AMD architecture across almost all configurations," he says.

But Dell joins the pack, offering AMD products just as Intel has finally revamped its product line. AMD built its success with clear product leadership. Now it will have to take on Intel-based computers that have regained competitive parity--or in some cases an advantage.