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Dell Plans Support For AMD, At Least On Servers

Hell may be close to freezing over. Following months of speculation, Dell says it will offer systems based on AMD’s 64-bit Opteron processor by year’s end.

Doing so will mark the first time Dell has ever offered a server based on hardware other than Intel's.

Technically, Dell’s foray into the AMD world came via the recent acquisition of Alienware, a manufacturer of high-end PCs that are typically used my gamers and multimedia users. While Dell didn’t withdraw commitment for offering Alienware-based PCs with AMD Athlon processors, it had not committed to offering the vendor’s CPUs on its own products.

In the end, though, Dell had little choice. Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Sun have for three years enjoyed huge success selling Opteron-based servers, which have outperformed rival Intel-based Xeon systems in overall throughput, power management and memory allocation.

Not supporting Opteron has cost Dell business. Larger enterprises have gravitated to Dell’s rivals, while smaller enterprises have held off on installing 64-bit dual-core systems, often to their detriment, solutions providers tell VARBusiness.

“We have customers that have added more processors just to stay with Dell,” says Kris Domich, a principal consultant at Dimension Data. “There are quite a few customers where it would take an awful lot to break their ties with Dell.”

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