AMD is offering businesses a new deal.
The chip maker on Tuesday launched a program under which it has pledged to assist in locking down the hardware inside business PCs based on its chips for 15 months at a time. Holding a PC lines components steady helps avoid software changes.
Those changes can cause headaches for companies information technology departments, which are forced to alter the standard corporate software package or image they install on all of their PCs each time a change is made.
Dubbed the Commercial Stable Image Platform, the program will help PC makers keep AMD-processor desktop and notebook hardware stable for the entire period, which is divided into three months of testing time and a year of deployment, limiting major hardware changes to one per year, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. representatives said.
The effort comes as AMD looks to further its progress in the business computer market, which has long been dominated by Intel Corp. AMD appears to have made the most headway in the x86 server processor market, where it passed 10 percent of x86 server processor shipments for the first time during the second quarter of this year.
But its efforts in the area of corporate PCs have gone more slowly. The chip maker has inked deals with Hewlett-Packard Co. to offer SMB (small and midsize business)-focused desktops and notebooks in the United States. Fujitsu LTD. also offers AMD-based machines in the United States and Europe.
The stability program will focus on smaller, second-tier desktop makers and notebook manufacturers at first, two areas where it believes its initial opportunity is greatest, a company representative said.
AMD has been told repeatedly by customers that software stability is a key attribute of a commercial PC, Simon Solotko, product manager for the Corporate Stable Image Program, said in an interview with Ziff Davis Internet.
"It is in [PC makers] interest for AMD to cultivate a stable image solution—both the technical solution and the [marketing] message—and as AMD and stable images become synonymous, we think that we will prove ourselves to large [PC maker] customers, just was we have proven ourselves to...customers with Opteron," he said. Thus, "Were continuing our penetration into the product lines of those customers."
The new program, which rivals a similar effort by Intel, will cover AMD Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64 chips and Turion 64 chips, as well as a variety of hardware from its close partners. AMDs 939-pin socket desktop chips, including Athlon X2 models 4200+, 4600+ and 4800+, as well as its Athlon 64 models ranging from the 3200+ to the 4000+ and its Turion 64 models MT-28 to MT-40 and ML-28 to ML-40 are all covered, AMDs Web site shows.
Fellow chip makers ATI Technologies Inc. and Nvidia Corp., which offer chip sets enabling chips that handle routing of data inside a PC, are also participating in the program, along with Atheros Communications Inc. and Broadcom Corp., which provide parts such as wireless modules.
AMD has also enlisted motherboard manufacturers ASUSTek Computer Inc., ECS (EliteGroup Computer Systems), Gigabyte Technology Co. LTD. and MSI (Micro-Star International Co. LTD).
AMD will offer the stability program, whose first cycle commenced on Sept. 1, to system builders and PC makers in Europe and North America at the outset.
When it comes to desktops, AMD said PC maker ZT Group would be the first to offer a machine under the program. Others will also arrive as the first motherboards to support the program will come out in the fourth quarter.
AMDs notebook efforts, meanwhile, will consist of assisting top-tier companies with notebook reference designs, creations which show examples of a how a product can be constructed.
AMD said it intends to extend the program to other market segments and to address PC makers in other parts of the world, beginning early next year.
"A large number of OEMs are currently evaluating CSIP solutions," Solotko said. "We dont speak for our customers, but as other customers publicly launch their [models], well be indicating that and providing information on our Web site."
AMD intends to continue the program by rolling out new platforms every year and to raise the bar with new features based on the needs of PC makers and their business customers, he said.