Dell, Intel's "whore" losing loyalty battle
- From: Rich <me@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 31 May 2006 15:17:57 -0400
But Canada's version of Dell, MDG is still an Intel-only whore.
I guess despite court cases pending, the bribes are still flowing?
EARLIER IN THE year, AMD had already got its foot partially in Dell's
door when the Texas-based company acquired Alienware, which was
already selling Opteron and Athlon 64 based systems.
The direct-seller admitted in the ame Q1 FY'07 financial statement in
which it also announced the Opteron decision: "The competitive
environment has been more intense than we had planned for or
understood," said Kevin Rollins, Dell's chief executive officer.
Could that have had anything to do with the rapid growth of Opteron in
the enterprise? If so, like Intel, Dell was seriously caught with its
Someone must have extrapolated what would happen if Dell remained an
Intel only shop and AMD continued its rapid growth in the enterprise.
It would have been a simple graph - one line going up and the other
Intel's shareholders have already made their feelings known about the
chip giant's poor performance record. Dell doesn't want to end up
where Intel currently is, so hence its Opteron announcement. But Dell
won't be offering one-way and two-way Opteron based systems. So why
such a limited embrace?
It's been evident for a long time that four-way Opteron systems reign
supreme over their Xeon-based counterparts. Dell's decision would
imply that Intel won't be able to deliver a competitive solution until
close to the end of the decade.
But what about Dell's customer base? Surely they were demanding one
and two-way systems, which are the volume movers. Those who were
expecting and demanding such won't be happy bunnies.
Of course, with the growing demand for AMD Opteron based systems,
Dell's Opteron decision may have come too late in the day for the chip
maker to meet its demand. That could mean one and two-way systems
could be offered down the road. Conversely, Dell may have unshakable
confidence that Intel will deliver this time round with its one and
two-way chip offerings.
Dell's marketing of its Opteron based product will be of interest when
it's launched. But will it be as lame as Supermicro? It's still not
possible to navigate from Supermicro's home page to its Opteron based
products. It's one thing to offer something. It's another to promote
it. So Dells' product positioning and the language used to
differentiate its Xeon and Opteron based product will make for
AMD has a lot of interesting technology coming down the road that will
solidify an already firm AMD64 foundation. Quad core devices, shared
level three cache, RAS enhancements and virtualization technology to
name just a few.
Some of Intel's future technologies are similar to AMD's. But there is
a significant difference when past performance is looked at. Where AMD
has delivered on its technological road map Intel has faltered. So one
would expect AMD to not only deliver these technologies but to
implement them better as well. A good example of better implementation
in relation to overall design is processor cache. AMD hasn't made any
processor cache increases to its single core devices since the launch
of the Opteron processor some three years ago. The same can't be said
of Intel's Xeon counterpart. That's indicative of how good the AMD64
platform has been thus far.
It's not just AMD developing all this technology. Other companies and
organizations are putting their oar in as well. The HyperTransport
consortium continues to develop that interconnect technology unabated.
DRC co-processor chips are now available. AMD64 compilers continue to
be improved. I could go on, but our regular readers will already know
that the AMD64 juggernaut won't be slowing down anytime soon for
Because AMD is only focused on those areas that really matter to its
commercial success it can depend on third party players that are
experts in their field to compete with each other and deliver. That
drives innovation and competition, which means no one can afford to
stand still. The AMD64 ecosystem has flourished over these past three
years. Dell will reap that harvest.
Intel has discovered to its cost over these past three years that its
minnow sized competitor AMD has been using its performance and
technical clout to carve out some very lucrative deals.
It appears that AMD now has a new code name - Bulldozer. AMD used
ClawHammer and SledgeHammer code names for its client and server AMD64
chip introductions. There was no doubt that Intel got hammered by
these and later devices. AMD has been pulverizing Intel since the
launch of AMD64. Could Bulldozer be the quad core device that pushes
Intel into the sea? I don't think AMD would use such a name unless it
is something very special indeed. I'm sure Dell will be eyeballing
this space very closely.
Drop me a line if you feel let down because Dell's Opteron choice will
be limited. If Dell still isn't listening to its customer base a
litany of complaints could force the vendor's hand.
You have to wonder how long it will be before Apple signs along Dell's
dotted line. With Dell's Opteron announcement, Apple may feel left out
in the cold. It may feel compelled to get onboard the Opteron train as
well. It may also wish to distance itself from the following
At Apple's worldwide developers conference in June last year, Intel
CEO Paul Otellini showed a slide that said: The world's most
innovative computer company and the world's most innovative chip
company finally team up. If Intel is the most innovative chip company
in the world why would Dell, its most important customer, choose to
buy Alienware and then announce that it would be offering Opteron
based product. An interesting question indeed.
One thing is for sure, AMD and its partners have certainly turned the
IT market upside down. µ
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