A tale of two companies
Any discussion of AMD
That strategy only works when you're ahead, though. Over the past several years, AMD has gone from a plucky upstart with Pentium knockoffs to the real innovator in the business, to the point where Intel is adapting to AMD's initiatives and adding the 64-bit standards introduced by AMD to its own chip designs. Microsoft
It's true that the Core Duo 2, Intel's latest product, outperforms AMD's best in many ways and that the smaller rival won't have a real response until sometime next year. But the damage has been done. System builders like Hewlett-Packard
Dell's jump aboard the AMD bandwagon just weeks before Intel released the chip that would put it back on top of the performance heap speaks volumes to me. The company surely knows more about upcoming chips than the average hardware enthusiast on the street does, myself included. And Dell sees something in those plans that says, "You need AMD." What's that all about?
AMD's next-generation platform includes support for a whole new range of coprocessor units with direct access to important system resources and a promise to transform the computing industry. Imagine, if you will, a dedicated drop-in physics processor that can make short work of 3-D gaming calculations or advanced scientific calculations, for example. AMD has many partners working on solutions like that already, using the platform as a springboard for hitherto unknown computing possibilities.
Building the perfect beast
And the acquisition of ATI Technologies
The company just opened new research facilities in Shanghai, China, and Fort Collins, Colo., showing a commitment to innovation. It also earmarked $2.5 billion for an upgrade of production facilities in Germany and announced a $3.2 billion chip factory in upstate New York, so the company clearly believes that it will need more capacity in order to meet future demands.
Market research firm Mercury Research pegged AMD's market share in desktops at 25.4% in August, up 5.1% over August 2005. There's real competition in the marketplace now, and it may be just a matter of time before Intel becomes the underdog in the industry it once built.
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here, but he wrote this article on an AMD system with ATI graphics and core logic, built by HP. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like. Foolish disclosure is well-rounded in and of itself.