A top Intel executive today admitted that the company was surprised by Dell's decision to use AMD processors in some of its high-end servers.
The May deal was a coup for AMD, which had long sought to break Dell's policy of only buying processors from Intel. "It was a surprise to see Dell offer Opteron at the high end of the MP [multi-processing] line, as well as a disappointment," said Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice-president and general manager of Intel's sales and marketing group.
"On the other hand, that's what it said its customers wanted, and it's trying to do what's best for its customers."
Dell will use the Opteron only in selected server models. Speaking at the time of the announcement, Dell executives said most server sales will continue to be systems based on Intel chips.
The company is also optimistic about Intel's upcoming dual-core Xeon processor, known as Woodcrest. Set to be announced today at the Computex exhibition in Taipei, Woodcrest offers substantial performance gains and lower power consumption than existing Intel processors.
The chip will also help Intel regain ground lost to the Opteron, which has won over many customers, particularly in the US. "They are not even in the same game," Chandrasekher said, referring to Woodcrest's performance relative to AMD's Opteron.