NEW YORK—Dell has added a new dimension to its desktop PCs by taking the wraps off of its first AMD-processor-based machines.
The PC maker began taking orders for its new Dimension E521 and C521 desktops, which will offer Advanced Micro Devices Sempron, Athlon 64 and dual-core Athlon 64 X2 chips, on Sept. 13.
The Dell-AMD machines, aimed at consumers and small businesses, are part of a cadre of upgraded desktops the Round Rock, Texas, PC maker has introduced as part of an effort to better address customers needs by broadening its product line in 2006.
Dell, which had long been an Intel-only shop, made the jump to AMD because it has been convinced that customers wanted AMD chips and also that AMD itself is on good standings in terms of technology and manufacturing capacity.
"More and more customers are asking for AMD-based products," Michael Dell, the companys chairman, said to reporters and analysts at Dells Sept. 12 Technology Day here.
But at the same time, "AMD has demonstrated the ability to deliver technology customers want today and in the future," he said. The chip maker "meets Dells requirements for capacity and quality."
Dell is adding the AMD-based products as part of an effort to better meet customers needs, a strategy it calls "Dell 2.0."
As part of that effort, Dell designed the two AMD-processor desktops to be configurable with a wide range of options. They can be configured with up to 4GB of memory and offer the ability to add discrete graphics cards, one thing thats not always available on lower-priced desktops.
Dells Dimension E521, which is a basic slim tower desktop, starts at $329 with an AMD Sempron 3400+ processor, 512MB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive and a combination CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive. It uses graphics built into its Nvidia NForce 430 chip set—a chip set handles the flow of data inside a PC—Dells Web site shows.
A version that adds an Athlon 64 3200+ and a 15-inch flat panel costs $499, while one that offers upgrades to an Athlon 64 X2 3800+, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, a Nvidia 7300LE graphics card and a 17-inch flat panel starts at $869.
Dells compact Dimension C521, which is smaller and thinner than the E521 , starts at $359 with a Sempron 3400+ processor, Dells site shows. The system also offers numerous upgrades, including Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 X2 processors, DVD-writing drives, graphics cards from Nvidia and ATI Technologies, and TV tuners, according to the site.
With its new desktops, Dell joins a growing number of companies that are targeting businesses using desktops with AMD chips inside them.
Lenovo Group, for one, has unveiled a new AMD-based ThinkCenter, while Hewlett-Packard will offer the HP Compaq Business Desktop PC dc5750, which also offers AMDs chips. Both systems are aimed at larger businesses.
Dell has not yet announced an AMD-based OptiPlex desktop for larger businesses. However, Dell is widely expected to offer such as desktop.
Dell is also offering new Dimension desktops with Intels Pentium D or the chip makers Core 2 Duo processors.
Dell introduced on Sept. 12 its Dimension E520, which offers Pentium D and Core 2 Duo chips and starts at about $700, as well as its XPS 210, a small desktop that offers Core 2 Duo chips and starts at about $1,100.
Editors Note: This story was updated to include pricing information for the new desktops.