Intel's misery multiplies as Dell picks AMD

Intel's misery multiplies as Dell picks AMD

Dell has stepped away from long-time supplier Intel, launching one

desktop that spurns the chipmaker's vPro business bundle and two others that

use processors from chipmaking competitor Advanced Micro Devices.

Dell will still build its new Dimension E520 and XPS 210 desktop PCs with a

choice of Intel's Pentium D or Core 2 Duo processors, the company said Tuesday.

But for the first time, Dell will offer a choice of AMD's Athlon and Sempron

chips in the new Dimension E521 and C521 models.

For its new OptiPlex 745 business desktop, Dell said it developed its own

bundle of business-friendly technologies instead of using Intel's vPro

platform. Intel has seen strong sales in recent years for bundles of software

and hardware such as its Centrino package for wireless notebook PCs. The

company launched vPro in September as an effort to extend that strategy to

business desktops.

The company did not rule out the chance that it might add Intel's bundle to

future desktops, but said vPro had to mature first.

"We'll continue to work with Intel to help them refine the technology," said

Dell's chief technology officer, Kevin Kettler. He spoke during the company's

annual Technology Day meeting in New York. "There's still work to be done to

drive that technology as a fundamental, strong value for our end customers."

He compared the current vPro bundle to early iterations of hardware-based

security in Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chips. "Dell was a slow adopter of

TPM, and that's not because we didn't know about them or forgot to ask about

them. There are some cases where we've ultimately used a technology but waited

for it to mature a little bit before adopting it," Kettler said.

Dell competitors Hewlett-Packard Co. and Gateway Inc. both launched

vPro-enabled desktops last week, prompting some analysts to ask why Dell was

lagging despite its close relationship to Intel.

The answer is that Dell was assembling its own business bundle. The company's

OptiPlex 745 boosts security and eases IT management while reducing power draw.

Those are the same selling points as vPro, and the Dell system even uses

similar components, like Intel's new Core 2 Duo processor and a TPM security


The difference is that Dell chooses and integrates the remaining pieces,

retaining more control over the final product. In October, Dell will add its

own Client Manager module to the system, allowing IT managers to remotely boot

and troubleshoot thousands of client systems from a single site. Intel does

that trick with its Active Management Technology (AMT). Likewise, Dell chose

its own partner for security and password protection, using Wave Systems

Corp.'s Embassy Trust Suite.

Dell sells the OptiPlex 745 with a Core 2 Duo E6300 processor for US$899. The

XPS 210 costs $1,190 for a premium entertainment package.

The Dimension E520 and E521 will go on sale Wednesday for $719 and $329, both

with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP Media Center OS, dual-core processors and

multimedia options. The Dimension C521 will cost $359 but take up just half the

space compared to the E520 and E521.

In another announcement Tuesday, Dell is extending its relationship with EMC

Corp., adding another five years to their partnership in selling storage

products such as the Dell/EMC AX100 and CX3 UltraScale networked storage

systems. Together, the two companies have sold 34,000 networked storage systems

to 10,000 customers since founding their alliance in 2001.

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