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Power Plays Spice Up The Competition In Systems

*Editor's Note: This is the second of 10 installments of our 5 Hot-Button Issues series, in which we spotlight five things solution providers should keep an eye on over the coming year in various IT and channel categories.

A cadre of faster, more power-efficient processors -- coupled with deep price cuts -- have caused the tech industry to hope that system sales in the third and fourth quarters will bounce back from a slow second quarter. The refresh is also spurring innovation, ranging from new blade formats to advanced consolidation services to experimentation with co-processors.

Here's a rundown of some hot-button trends, technologies and market developments to track in the hardware arena.

1. Competition In The CPU Market
Fierce competition has its pros and cons. Certainly, solution providers and system builders will reap the benefits of Intel and Advanced Micro Devices' battle for dominance in virtually all system form factors.

Over the past year, AMD has seen a robust boost in market share thanks to a strong price/performance-per-watt story of its processors. That was particularly true in the server space, where AMD held one-quarter of the U.S. server market at the end of the first quarter.

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