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AMD challenges Intel with laptop CPU

Aiming to grab market share

AMD aims to grab laptop PC market share from Intel with a family of Turion mobile processors launched today.

The Turion 64 X2 chips will be the first 64bit, dual-core processors to reach the notebook market, said David Rooney, mobile division marketing manager for AMD. Customers demand 64bit processing to run multithreaded digital media applications and the future Microsoft Vista OS (operating system), he said.

Multicore processing allows control over many applications running on a single PC. AMD says 85 percent of PC users run six applications at once: antivirus, email, firewall, spam protection, a pop-up blocker and spyware.

Still, Intel's Centrino has been a financial success in the notebook market. Centrino bundles software and hardware, including the processor, chipset and wireless technology.

To compete effectively, AMD will need more than just a good processor.

So, AMD has challenged Intel by offering PC vendors more choice. Vendors can select from a menu of graphics and wireless providers that all work with Turion chips, such as ATI or Nvidia for graphics and Airgo, Atheros or Broadcom for wireless.

By comparison, Intel forces PC vendors to all use the same Centrino platform and compete with each other on price alone, Rooney said.

AMD could also seize an advantage by launching its chip first, analysts say.

AMD's decision to launch its Turion in May gives PC vendors time to get their products on store shelves in time for the back-to-school rush, the second-largest selling season in the US, said Nicole D'Onofrio, an analyst with Current Analysis.

Already, vendors planning to sell Turion-based notebook PCs this quarter include Acer, Fujitsu Siemens, Gateway and HP. There are nine more.

That could give AMD an advantage whether shoppers are comparing the high-end Turion versus Intel's Core Duo, or comparing AMD's low-end Sempron versus Intel's Celeron, she said.

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