Dell on Tuesday rolled out new desktop computers in truly made-to-order style. Not only can customers choose sizes and graphics capabilities, they can also choose between Intel and AMD chips.
Customers can select machines based on Intel’s Core 2 Duo processors or, for the first time, AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processors. Both technologies allow consumers to perform functions such as streaming music, watching movies and calculating spreadsheets simultaneously.
The Intel-or-AMD option signifies a break in protocol for Dell, which has been a staunch supporter of Intel for many years. The company had cited lack of customer demand as its reason for shunning AMD. Apparently, circumstances have changed.
“More and more customers are asking for AMD-based products,” Dell Chairman Michael Dell said at the launch event in New York. “AMD has demonstrated a great ability to deliver great technology that customers want today and in the future.”
The AMD Models
Dell is touting the processor choice as beneficial to customers who want to personalize their PCs for specific needs ranging from entertainment to office applications.
Of the four new Dell desktop models, two contain AMD processors. The Dimension E521 and the C521 Dell home or small office desktops will include AMD Athlon or Sempron chips.
The E521 offers room to expand and upgrade while the C521 is designed with mainstream entertainment features. The C521 is about half the size of the Dimension E521.
The Intel-based E520 offers either a dual-core Pentium D or the new Core 2 Duo 64-bit processor.
The Dimension E520, Dimension E521 and Dimension C521 are priced at US$719, $329 and $359 respectively.
The Dell XPS 210 offers Intel Core 2 Duo processor performance with a market of college students and those with space-constrained offices or entertainment centers in mind.
The XPS’ front panel can slide to reveal the DVD drive, two front USB ports, optional media card reader, IEEE 1394 port and headphone/microphone jacks. The XPS 210 system is priced at $1,190.
Dell has also released a business desktop, the OptiPlex 745, that features the Core 2 Duo processor. Pricing for this system was unavailable.
On an Even Keel
“Offering the processors as a choice is the right thing to do. Dell customers can decide if they care one way or another which processor is inside,” Endpoint Technologies Principal Analyst Roger Kay told TechNewsWorld. “Intel should be worried. Now it has a viable competitor.”
Kay is not sure if consumers will react positively or negatively to the AMD-based machines, but one thing is certain: now that Dell has transitioned from an all-Intel shop to a mixed shop, there is at least the potential that Intel might lose some market share. Much of Intel’s future as it relates to Dell sales depends on customer choice.
Dell with Intel Inside
Each of Dell’s new systems are Microsoft Windows Vista-capable, designed to run the visual, networking and security enhancements of the Windows Vista operating system when available from the software giant.
Each desktop ships standard with Microsoft Windows XP Media Center and offers a choice of configurations and sizes that can be customized to run nearly any multimedia application.
Multimedia options range from integrated 7.1 audio and graphics to ATI and NVIDIA graphics cards for 3-D games, and an optional media card reader and TV tuner to better manage digital content.