No warm welcome for AMD

No warm welcome for AMD

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) launched its new K6-2 processor here last week as an alternative to Intel's Pentium II processors, but the response from our major assemblers hasn't been positive.

Maree Lowe, director of Anabelle Bits, said Intel is the undisputed leader in the processor market, and AMD is always following Intel.

"We have no reason to see why K6-2 would impact on us. It's really no big deal for us," she said.

Jonathan Sheiman, general manager of corporate and government at Ipex, said AMD doesn't have the brand recognition or reputation that Intel has.

"In certain areas, it will probably be reasonably difficult to compete. Intel's products are particularly good," he said.

Joe Sekel, AMD's marketing director of its computation products group in Asia-Pacific and Japan, said the chips "heralded a new era in computing".

Currently, the only vendors in Australia offering systems with the chip are IBM and Compaq. Sekel said he was "in discussions" with a number of local manufacturers, but would not name any companies.

The K6-2 processors, available now at clock-speeds up to 333MHz, offer integer performance comparable to same-speed Pentium IIs, and handily beat the Intel chips on graphics and 3-D applications optimised for the chips' built-in 3DNow instructions, said Sekel.

Although AMD to date has found itself competing at the low end of the market, mainly in the sub-$US1000 PC arena, the company is targeting the K6-2 squarely at the Pentium II and not at the Celeron, Intel's recently introduced low-end processor.

AMD is positioning the K6-2 mainly for the consumer market, where 3DNow-enhanced 3D and graphics performance is expected to bring users more realistic game experiences. As many as 100 3Dnow-optimised game titles should hit the market by year's end, which is a fairly attractive on-sell opportunity for resellers and retailers alike.

For both consumer and business users, PC vendors will be able to offer K6-2-powered systems at a discount compared to Pentium II-based systems, since AMD will continue to price its chips 25 per cent below Intel's comparable offerings.

The company has left its widely-publicised production woes behind it, and expects to ship 12 million K6 and K6-2 processors this year. From now on, all wafer starts at AMD's US fabrication plant will be done on 0.25 micron design rules.

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