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August 22, 2005

AMD swings dual-core jab at Intel

Advanced Micro Devices Inc hopes to put at least cast a cloud on rival Intel Corp's fanfare as Intel Developer Forum warms up today with the announcement of a new Intel processor architecture.

By CBR Staff Writer

AMD has challenged Intel to a dual-core duel, a public benchmarking test between the two company’s dual-core x86 server processors, by taking out full-page ads in several US newspapers.

It’s time to find out which x86-based dual-core architecture best meets customer needs the old fashioned way: a live shoot-out measuring server workloads and energy consumption, reads the ad, which features an AMD Operton 64 chip in an otherwise-empty boxing ring.

The ad doesn’t pull any punches. AMD is ready to meet anytime in 2005, reads the ad. To give Intel time to release their ‘optimal’ dual-core processors.

AMD, of course, was the company that debuted an x86 dual-core server microprocessor in April 2005, while Intel’s Xeon counterpart is slated for release earlier next year.

There was no point in challenging Intel on dual-core when they haven’t had anything worth challenging against, said Pat Patla, AMD director of commercial server and workstation marketing.

We’re just ready to cut through the hype and marketing and prove what’s reality, Patla said. [Intel’s] hype and marketing will start tomorrow.

At press time, details of Intel’s anticipated updated dual-core x86 Xeon platform were not available. At IDF, the chipmaker is expected to kick off a campaign to promote servers built on its upcoming dual-core Xeon and Itanium 2 processors.

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Last week, Intel moved up the date for release of its dual-core Xeon processor MP, codenamed Paxville, which is now expected to be available later this year rather than in the first half of 2006.

But whether AMD will succeed in stealing Intel’s thunder seems unlikely.

Intel almost certainly will not respond to AMD’s challenge. And even if it did, the winner of such a contest would depend on the benchmarks chosen.

While AMD’s Direct Connect architecture does away with processing bottlenecks by doing away with a front-side bus, Intel processors tend to have much larger cache, said Gartner analyst Martin Reynolds.

So, whoever picks the home ground probably wins.

AMD’s Patla said it is seeking to compare only industry-standard benchmarks, of which he said AMD has already proven in 21 tests held by partners.

As AMD’s ad reads, Obscure benchmarks need not apply. Volume commercial processors only.

AMD’s latest PR stunt would likely be successful anyway because it raises awareness of AMD’s leadership in dual-core and get people thinking, Reynolds said.

The ad will run in two national newspapers today, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, as well as the two top Silicon Valley local papers, San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, in order to target IDF attendees.

Such tactics are not new to AMD. The company also ran an ad during IDF Spring 2004 titled Welcome to the World of AMD64 when Intel launched its x86 64-bit initiative.

AMD said today’s ad is the first of a larger marketing campaign around the dual-core duel concept, which it will be pushing through the end of 2005 in various ways. The company declined to provide further details and also would not say how much money it is throwing at the campaign.

Patla said the ad would run today only. He was coy on whether future newspapers ads would be part of the campaign. We’ll have to see what the future brings, he said.

The ad also seemed to jab at Intel’s allegedly anticompetitive behavior, which AMD detailed in a lawsuit filed late June. Among its complaint, AMD claimed that Intel acted unlawfully to maintain its leading market share. In today’s ad, AMD said it was challenging Intel to a benchmarking duel, In the spirit of fair and open competition.

AMD also took out a full-page ad in several US papers a couple of months ago that outlined its legal case against Intel.

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