Mobility, Graphics and Security
With the new platform, the company is hoping to appeal primarily to small and midsize businesses, but Speed said AMD also plans to target a number of verticals such as education and government as well as the overall enterprise market.However, there remains a large market for commercial desktops, and AMD is looking for a way to balance out its consumer offerings, which are subject to ever-changing spending habits, with the stability that comes with the commercial client market. "The commercial desktop space is still an important segment and there's a still lot of business there," said Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates. "If AMD, given its current market share, can get a point or two out of any market ... almost any effort is worth something." To start, AMD will offer seven microprocessors with the platform. These include the single-core Athlon 2.7GHz 1640B; four dual-core Athlon X2 chips running at 2.3GHz, 2.6GHz, 2.7GHz and 2.8GHz; a tri-core 2.3GHZ Phenom X3 8600B model; and a Phenom X4 quad-core 9600B running at 2.3GHz. The chips have thermal envelopes ranging from 95 watts for the quad-core model down to 45 watts for the single-core Athlon. The new platform supports Microsoft's DirectX 10 API for graphics. Although AMD is supplying its own chip set and discrete graphics, the processors will work with Nvidia chip sets. AMD is also working with three ODMs (original design manufacturers)-Asustek Computer, MSI Computer and ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems)-to create motherboards for the white-box desktop market. About half of AMD's desktop business comes from OEMs and the other half from white-box designers. The platform also adheres to several security and management standards, including the TCG (Trusted Computing Group)'s standard for security and the Distributed Management Task Force's new DASH (desktop and mobile architecture for system hardware) standards for management. Speed said he believes these standards will give AMD's desktop platform an advantage over the AMT (Active Management Technology) features that Intel has developed for its own platform. Although AMD is releasing its desktop platform April 28, the company also plans to introduce a mobile platform, called "Puma," later in the second quarter. The platforms will share some of the same management features and technology. Together, these two platforms will form AMD Business Class, which should strengthen the company's enterprise business as it looks to return to financial stability later in 2008.
This shift to a desktop focus comes at a time when reports from IDC, Gartner and other research firms say business buyers are moving toward more laptops and other mobile computing devices.