Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Intel Hardware

Dell Still Intel Only 399

wyckedone writes "Dell Computers has no plans to offer the new dual-core AMD Opteron even though it has been proven that "Opteron's integrated memory controller and multiple Hypertransport interconnects help it outperform Intel's Xeon processor on many benchmarks, especially those that measure the performance of memory-intensive applications.". HP, IBM and Sun Microsystems have all announced that they are going to release servers based on the new AMD chip. Why not offer customers an alternative that has better performance instead of risking the lose of those customers to another vendor that does? Intel has no plans to release a dual-core Xeon until 2006."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Dell Still Intel Only

Comments Filter:
  • what (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:44AM (#12269280)
    who gives a crap what chip vendor they choose to use? the pc market isn't a monopoly.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:45AM (#12269300)
    Why not offer customers an alternative that has better performance instead of risking the lose of those customers to another vendor that does?

    1. AMD can't produce enough chips to satisfy Dell's demands

    2. Intel has proven a reliable platform for Dell

    3. Most end user's don't care
  • Because (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Custard ( 587661 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:46AM (#12269308) Homepage Journal
    Why not offer customers an alternative that has better performance instead of risking the lose of those customers to another vendor that does?

    Because Dell looked at the numbers and determined that the exclusively-Intel price discount that Dell gets is more valuable than the potential revenue they'd get by offering AMD.
  • Business Choice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by teiresias ( 101481 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:48AM (#12269330)
    This means more business for HP, IBM and Sun Microsystems (if of course Businesses in the market for servers choose AMD).

    Dell has chosen to stick with Intel which isn't the worse choice. It means lost profits but it also means less support for two distinct chips.

    It is up to the above three companies to prove to Dell (and Intel) that AMD is a viable alternative by speaking with their dollars and buying Opteron servers
  • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:48AM (#12269331)
    If Dell decided to use Intel and AMD processors, they would have to dedicate resources to another product line. It's likely that for all their different models, Dell has a very limited number of motherboards and other such pieces of hardware. If they were to adopt AMD, they would have to dedicate development and support resources to a whole other set of product lines. It's just not worth it. They have their designs that work, they have their production lines in place, and they have their customer service set up. Adding AMD just makes things doubly complicated and eats into their profit margins. There is a huge barrier to adoption that they are just not going to be able to justify, no matter what the "demand" seems to be. People think AMD boxes would be cheaper, but for Dell to support them, they would not be.
  • Not to flame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kipsaysso ( 828105 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:48AM (#12269336) Homepage Journal
    But if you are buying a Dell PC then you probably do not care to horribly much about the microseconds that AMD can buy in you in comparison to the Intel chip.

    Which isn't to say your 12 year old doesn't, but that is besides the point.
  • by mindaktiviti ( 630001 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:50AM (#12269349)
    Could it be that Dell's customers are not asking for AMD? Maybe performance isn't a big issue for checking your email and typing out that King Lear essay?

    I think the disadvantage here is that Dell sometimes supplies companies with computers and they're the ones without a big choice. Home users tend to pick dell because it's the easy thing to do.
  • by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:50AM (#12269351)
    this is the way very conservative business people talk as they set themselves up to lose to their competitors.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:50AM (#12269356)
    HP, IBM and Sun Microsystems have all announced that they are going to release servers based on the new AMD chip.

    Dell has never offered AMD. Yet they have grown to be the largest PC company in the world. HP and Compaq can combine and Dell still outperforms them. IBM decides to sell off their PC division. Sun is fighting for its life.

    I'm a big fan of AMD, but the "everybody else is doing it" argument has always been a stupid one. It is more stupid when "everybody else", even combined, have withered against the "not everybody else" competition.

  • Dell is afraid... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xeon4life ( 668430 ) <devin AT devintorres DOT com> on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:51AM (#12269362) Homepage Journal
    Verily, I hear the propaganda spewing from the mouths of the less computer savvy: Somehow they've been brainwashed through the years, I assume by Intel's Blue Men.

    "B-b-but, it's Pentium 4 EXTREME Edition with HT Technology!!1one"

    "B-b-but, Intel's better for gaming!"

    "B-b-but, If it's not Intel Inside(tm), then it's not worth a damn!"

    "B-b-but, Is Windows XP even compatible with AMD?"
  • by the_mutha ( 177709 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:53AM (#12269389)
    One thing you can all bet on. Dell does its numbers. If it didn't, it wouldn't be where it is now.

    In the end it ALWAYS comes down to numbers. Intel probably gives Dell quite a discount for having Dell's exclusivety. Most corporate customers don't mind the performance difference, since they will never get fired for buying Intel... on the contrary, in the corporate / server world, Intel has a great reputation.

    The press fanfare generated by such announcements probably is beneficial to Dell. Remember, (almost) any publicity is good publicity. Everyone that read this thread now remembered Dell exists :)

    Don't worry, one day they probably will conclude its more profitable to also sell AMD - probably when AMD manages to give them a nice discount too :)
  • Re:SFW (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:53AM (#12269400)
    Dell uses only intel CPUs for the same reason they only sell M$FT on the desktop. They get better deals from the other gorillas by staying exclusive with them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:55AM (#12269420)
    They really expect the AMD based Dell's to be so much better than the Intel ones that they'd make AMD run out of cpus?

    Business parterners that can't meet demand are a liability. AMD has a very limited manufacturing capability compared to Intel. The kind of production runs that Dell requires is something that AMD can't accommidate, certainly not as long as they're supplying HP and white box makers.
  • Re:SFW (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) <Satanicpuppy.gmail@com> on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:56AM (#12269427) Journal
    Bah. Weighed both sides? I don't think so. They have too much infrastructure tied up with intel.

    However, by saying publicly, "We're thinking nice thoughts about AMD" they can pressure intel to lower their prices, so as not to lose business from one of the larger home pc manufacturers.

    Business as usual.
  • by stlhawkeye ( 868951 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:56AM (#12269435) Homepage Journal
    Why not offer customers an alternative that has better performance instead of risking the lose of those customers to another vendor that does?

    Any number of reasons come to mind, all pulled from my posterier based on what little I know about Dell's business model and relationship with Intel, but try any of these on:

    1. Dell has a current contract with Intel dictating that only Intel chips can be shipped in their machines
    2. Intel offers a significant price cut on their chips so long as Dell doesn't offer any competing chips
    3. Various aspects of the other chips (heat generation, physical dimensions, whatever) make it impractical for use on Dell's boards
    4. Setting up production lines, testing procedures, quality control, etc, for a new brand of chip is prohibitively expensive
    5. Custom choice is irrelevent when you're still making profits; clearly, Dell's customer base largely doesn't care, and the risk of losing them is minimal. Most likely, the kind of user that really cares about performance isn't buying a stock Dell.

    It could be any combination of the above or something else entirely. Maybe Dell is just making a horrible business decision, but I'm guessing that they've run the numbers and decided that its in their best interests to stay the course. Decisions that seem to be perplexing to us almost boil down to money. Their financial analysts have convinced management that the company is best served this way.

  • by Tenebrious1 ( 530949 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:58AM (#12269446) Homepage
    3. Most end user's don't care

    No, you have it backwards. If customers didn't care, they'd pick the faster AMD chip. Home users care about what's "inside"; which doesn't mean they know any better. It's just that they've seen the commercials, and their computer "expert" friend advises to get the Intel processor. So that's what they ask for when they call Dell, and that's what Dell gives them.

  • by Lemming Mark ( 849014 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:58AM (#12269448) Homepage
    Why not offer customers an alternative that has better performance instead of risking the lose of those customers to another vendor that does?

    Right or wrong, markets have inertia. If there isn't enough demand for AMD chips from Dells' huge corporate customers then it makes little business sense to expend effort on providing them. Unfortunately, the technology isn't the only factor here. When sufficient demand exists, expect Dell to get rather more keen on AMD products.

    The other factor is AMD's manufacturing capacity. I imagine Dell would be wary about going for AMD if they had concerns about this.

  • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:59AM (#12269462)
    And people who don't think about what new developments will cost them risk their entire business. I'm not saying I'm happy that Dell doesn't offer AMD chips. I'm saying that, based on what I've had to learn about business, I would say that it falls right in line with what I would suggest if I were Dell. Dell runs their business on low-profit-margin computers. More than a few customer support calls from you, and they haven't made any money from your purchase. That's how this sort of business works. It's very tightly controlled--manufacturers of commodity equipment have to make sure they make a profit while pricing low enough to beat their competitors. It's very difficult to do this.
  • by TopShelf ( 92521 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @10:59AM (#12269469) Homepage Journal
    The supply chain that supports Dell's business is insanely demanding, and there's a lot more to it than merely producing enough CPU's. It's having the right number of each variety in place at a particular point in time - not too early, certainly not late. Integrating a new CPU supplier into that chain would be a HUGE risk for Dell, so the benefit would have to be overwhelming for them to pursue it...
  • Re:SFW (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gowen ( 141411 ) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:02AM (#12269500) Homepage Journal
    They have too much infrastructure tied up with intel.
    Well of course they do. And that would be one of the factors they considered when weighing the options.

    Weighing the options does not mean just choosing which is the fastest processor, or which is the best technology, but weighing how much outlay it would cost to retool if you want to switch.

    Sometimes it's smart business to pick the lesser technology, if it keeps your costs down.
  • *News* for nerds? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wolfger ( 96957 ) <wolfger.gmail@com> on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:02AM (#12269502) Homepage
    Since when is Dell not using AMD news? It seems to me that "Dell still not using AMD" is a news article here about once per quarter. Let's just wait for them to actually use AMD, and then post that story. Hearing "nothing's changed" over and over again gets kinda.... boring.
  • Re:Simple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:04AM (#12269518)
    Only on slashdot could someone proclaim "M O N O P O L Y BUIS-NESS!" and 3 sentences later say you can walk into a local retailer and purchase a cheap, customized version of this supposedly monopolized resource.
  • by un1xl0ser ( 575642 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:07AM (#12269556)
    AMDs consume less power, and run much cooler.

    I don't know how many people are thinking about the cost of infrastructure to host servers, but that is another reason to use AMD based systems.
  • Whatever (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MankyD ( 567984 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:09AM (#12269585) Homepage
    Who cares? Customers buy on a price/performance scale. If Dell doesn't meet there needs, they'll go somewhere else. Yes, brand names are important, but Dell isn't the only big gun out there - just the only one without AMD support.
  • by kebes ( 861706 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:10AM (#12269606) Journal
    Exactly. The fact of the matter is that end-users (and managers that are in charge of buying lots of machines) have just a bit of knowledge, so marketing has a huge effect. The words "Intel" and "Pentium" are deeply ingrained in the minds of most people, whereas "AMD" is really only known to geeks. Honestly, I know tons of really smart people who don't know much too about computers... if they had to pick a "fast machine" off a list, they would gravitate towards the specs that included the word "Pentium 4." Maybe it's sad, but Intel's marketing is way better, and this means they get lots of sales based solely on name. Dell knows this and isn't going to stop putting the "Intel Inside" stickers on their computers anytime soon.

    Remember, Dell's main market is not geeks (who will build their computer from scratch anyway), it is the mass market.
  • Re:SFW (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ryan Amos ( 16972 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:10AM (#12269616)
    Trust me, if Dell felt it would be more profitable to use AMD, they'd use AMD. The business world has no illusions of brand loyalty (unless the CEO of AMD screwed Michael Dell's wife or something.) As it is, if you want an AMD based server, IBM happens to make some pretty nice ones, and they run 64-bit linux...
  • Re:SFW (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ePhil_One ( 634771 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:11AM (#12269624) Journal
    They get better deals from the other gorillas by staying exclusive with them.

    One of the big things they get is first cut at the latest technology. The Dell XPS Gen5 has been announced as the first system to use Intels new "Dual Core" chips, which gets them all sorts of Free (as in Beer) advertising. Charging Dell a lower price might get them in trouble, but there are few laws about who you have to give access to early technology mules.

  • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:11AM (#12269625)
    At a conference, Michael Dell spoke about this issue, indirectly. He argued that if Dell can satisfy most of the demand with a smaller number of parts, it will do that. I've heard other Dell managers speak and the magic number is usually 3 -- 3 graphics cards, 3 HD sizes, 3 speed levels, etc. Although Dell's factories are amazing in their ability to pump out customized PCs, each added part variant adds costs to the entire system.

    Dell would rather lose a few percent of sales that drive the costs of the entire factory higher.
  • Re:Simple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tomstdenis ( 446163 ) <tomstdenis.gmail@com> on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:12AM (#12269636) Homepage
    I run what I want, not what they want to sell me. e.g. an AMD64. ... the P4 I recently bought was because "facing reality" means using the same platform your customers will.

    Personally the P4 bothers me. It takes a wack of power and it's so f'ing slow by comparison...

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) * on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:15AM (#12269665)
    Well when you have a company that ships its own lame MP3 player [dell.com] instead of one people might actually want to buy (and I'm not even saying that would have to be an iPod!), then you realize that not all choices they make are really in thier long-term best interests - though Dell thinks they are I'm sure.
  • by PornMaster ( 749461 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:16AM (#12269674) Homepage
    I know that Intel will subsidize your advertising budget if you go all-Intel. I wonder how much of it is a matter of mindshare through advertising... get Intel to pay more of your marketing costs, you can cut margins on your servers.
  • by meestaplu ( 786661 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:16AM (#12269678)
    HP and Compaq can combine and Dell still outperforms them.

    I'm fairly sure they already have.
  • by Aphrika ( 756248 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:18AM (#12269695)
    Yes, although with Dell, sticking to their guns will ultimately keep their costs down.

    The reason is the way Dell do business. They have very little inventory, and an incredibly streamlined build process. Adding an additional CPU to the mix means that it would need to be rolled out across a number of servers, meaning more components, more suppliers, more support and more staff. In the end, people buy from Dell because they're Dell, not because they sell Opterons. So the net effect here is that by competing against another 3 manufacturers in Opteron territory, they're making the choices harder for their own customers who want Dell and don't give a monkey about what's in it.

    I can agree that product range is a great idea, but that's the key to confusion and lack of product identity rather than choice. I came across a company recently that sold 30 models of laptop, 44 mono laser printers and 41 types of colour inkjet. Some of those products were competing against each other and certainly didn't have time to research it so I didn't buy.

    That company was HP, and I certainly think some conservative business talk could help them out right now.
  • by thebdj ( 768618 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:19AM (#12269703) Journal
    The odds of them not offering AMD chips hurting their business might as well not exist. The fact is Dell and Intel spend more on Advertising then most the other manufacturers combined. How many of you have seen AMD commercials? This is why AMD is SO much cheaper. They lack the marketing cost that Intel does. I doubt the Blue Man Group comes cheap.

    As for Dell they have always thrown tons of money at Advertising and I would dare say more than most other PC manufacturers with maybe the exception of IBM, though they typically target more business users in the ads it seems. In the end stupid commercial get stupid people to buy stupid things. The smart ones know what they are doing and will buy the best performance for the price.
  • Re:SFW (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:21AM (#12269724)
    If Dell had a monopoly on PC manufacture, this would surely be big news. As it is, they're a company who've weighed both sides of an idea, and made a business.

    Remind me why I should care?

    One reason for some people to care is that Dell has a near-monopoly in the education market. A lot of folks at Universities want to buy AMD, especially when they've got what looks to be the best 64-bit solution, but keep getting told to just buy a Dell from their Purchasing Department.
  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:24AM (#12269740) Homepage Journal
    Really it does. AMD is faster for memory intensive programs. Pretty even on FP intensive programs. And wins based on bang for the buck. If you are going to build a HPC cluster AMD is often the better choice. Where Intel has an advantage is stability. You will really be hard pressed to find a more stabile combination than an Intel CPU on a motherboard using an Intel Chip set. Better yet an actual Intel motherboard. As long as AMD does not make their own chip set Intel will have if not a real at least a perceived advantage in stability. Dell used to use Intel motherboards even if they make their own now they use Intel chip sets. They can go straight to Intel and say will this work with that CPU. With AMD they would most likely then have to go to SIS, VIA, or nVidia to get a chip set. Then design a board using there reference. If machines started to have some strange issue Dell would then have to deal with the chip set provider blaming AMD and AMD blaming the chip set provider.
    Dell has their relationship with Intel all worked out. They have there supply chain all set up. They are the number one PC maker on the planet. Right now they have no real motivation to move. With IBM leaving the x86 market "are they keeping the servers?" and HP flopping around Dell is in pretty good shape.
  • by HerculesMO ( 693085 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:25AM (#12269750)
    When AMD processors become more mainstream due to HP and others that offer them, continue to outperform and underprice Intel... Dell is just going to be left in the dust. And by that point, by buying lots of cheaper processors from AMD and reaping the profits associated with a lower cost of production.

    It's competition that drives every vendor, and if Dell feels they can get away without offering AMD, that's fine. But then again, when you go looking for jobs, you don't see the need to be 'well versed in Dell Poweredge servers' do you? But HP/Compaq servers... that's a necessity when applying for a lot of jobs -- it just goes to show the reach of Dell's server market anyways. I think Dell makes the majority of its cash from home PC sales, and this move only shows that -- people will continue to be stupid and buy Dells though I have to admit, for $399 I couldn't build a computer as good as what Dell sells.

    Time will tell in this departement, but I do believe that Dell will fare just fine, because they prey on ignorance of customers -- home custoemrs. Business customers need the best performance for the least money, and right now (and for the foreseeable future), that will probably be AMD, and businesses will flock to that as it necessitates for their daily chores. We did it here at work, the new Opterons work quite well with SQL Server 2003 :)
  • Re:Business Choice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:25AM (#12269754) Journal
    Also, people here tend to assume that there's only one acceptable answer to any business question. (Partly becuase they turn everything into An Epic Struggle Between Good And Evil, partly out of simple economic illiteracy.)

    There is no reason why there can't be a viable, profitable market for AMD-based servers and for it simultaneously not to be in Dell's interest to pursue it. There's room for both Dell and Sun (and Alienware and white box vendors) to coexist, just like, believe it or not, it's possible for both Americans and Indians to have jobs.

  • by PornMaster ( 749461 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:28AM (#12269772) Homepage
    I'd buy HP's ProLiant line, but not their PCs.

    Dell is all about low margin *parts assembly*. Works fine for destops.

    When we had a drive fail in a PowerVault 220S, Dell sent out a tech to replace the drive, and the entire RAID-5 volume got hosed. That's just simply not supposed to happen. Doesn't happen with the Sun boxes we have here, nor the CPQ/HP ProLiants. The Sun and HP boxes are engineered as systems. The Dell relied on a rebadged Adaptec card, a rebadged copy of Volume Manager, and tech support who don't know anything about how the parts work together.

    If your IT stuff is done right, desktops are essentially disposable. Servers, not so much. Restoring a terabyte from tape is still a slow proposition, especially with network-based backup.
  • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:32AM (#12269837)
    That's garbage. This is STRICTLY POLITICAL.

    You say this because you are the World's Foremost Expert on Dell's Supply Chain Management system?
  • by Ravalox ( 640829 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:33AM (#12269845)
    Stability is a major factor; AMD once had a legacy of crash-happy platforms. I don't believe this to be true now, but Dell when they look at these things they weigh heat production, power consumption all as factors; including reputation. I think AMD has great technology now, I don't think that can be denied. But Dell markets on slightly different criteria than people the who build their own systems(yeah I know that statement is obvious, but its obviousness makes a point).
  • by spacey ( 741 ) <spacey-slashdot,org&ssr,com> on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:37AM (#12269889) Homepage
    Every quarter or two Dell makes noises about maybe using AMD chips, or some other chips, in some part of its business.

    Then it squeezes more concessions out of Intel to be the flag bearer. They get something - more marketing $$$, better volume margines, etc. that're given to them, and soon the dance starts over again.

    The reason Dell hasn't used AMD to date is, from the customers point of view, because Intel keeps showering them with money. At the same time, HP is making sales here because they've got quad opteron systems. /me *shrugs*

    So be it. If Intel doesn't keep padding Dell's bottom line, then maybe they'll have a 6850 fitted out with opterons next year.

  • Re:what (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tassach ( 137772 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:49AM (#12270052)
    Unfortunately, there are a lot of companies (and government agencies) out there who single-source all their x86 hardware from Dell.

    If you work at a place like that, it's a tough sell (if not a bureaucratic nightmare) to get hardware from a "non-preferred" vendor.

  • Re:Not to flame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by badfish99 ( 826052 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @11:59AM (#12270173)
    Your "fact" doesn't disprove your "fallacy". Since when did the people who know anything about computers get to make the purchasing decisions? That's the job of the ignorant managers!
  • by _randy_64 ( 457225 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @12:00PM (#12270196) Homepage
    This from a man who calls himself "xeon4life"?

  • by Tassach ( 137772 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @12:03PM (#12270230)
    They care more about overclocking, neon lights, and fps in the latest games.
    Painting with a pretty broad brush, aren't you? Every system I own except my laptop is AMD-based, and not a single one of them is overclocked. Why? Because AMD consistently kicks Intel's ass in terms of Price/Performance ratio, especially when you back off a couple of steps from the top-of-the-line model. At just about any price point you select, AMD offers a significantly faster CPU than Intel.
  • by Holi ( 250190 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @12:03PM (#12270234)
    Intel provides a complete solution, not just a processor. They get a rocksolid chipset designed by the same company producing the cpu. With AMD Dell has to deal with 2 companies instead of one. First they must get the cpus from AMD and then deal with a 3rd party for the chipset. With the amount of competition in the chipset arena for AMD chips the focus tends to be on features instead of stability (not saying that all the chipsets are flakey but far more often then intel's).

    Oh and all this from an AMD fanboy.
  • by dBLiSS ( 513375 ) <theking54@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday April 18, 2005 @12:06PM (#12270280) Journal
    Indeed, as I understand Dell uses a Just-IN-Time manufacturing process. One of the key needs of a JIT manufacturing process is very reliable suppliers. That also often means dealing with as few suppliers as possible.
  • I can answer that. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Monday April 18, 2005 @12:09PM (#12270315) Homepage Journal
    Becasue consumers do not care about this technical pissing contest that is going on in the industry. They don't care, because they don't have to. The performence difference is squat in the real world.

    Keeping that in consideration, why spend the extra dollrs supporting another chip that doesn't have brand awareness amoung Dell's customers?

    People don't want faster computers anynmore, they want computers that work and that they don't have to worry about. The want their computers to be the next generation TV. Some may scoff, but the technical challenge of making a computer that worry free is far more challenging then another 10% speed increase that can only be measured running certian programs in lab like conditions.

  • Also... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by artemis67 ( 93453 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @12:19PM (#12270442)
    by adding AMD systems across the board, Dell would double overnight the number of motherboards that they have to support and troubleshoot. Even if AMD sales were only a small part of their overall revenue.

    Would there be enough new revenue from selling AMD systems to justify that? It has to be NEW revenue, because if it's just replacing one revenue stream with another at a greater cost, why would you bother?

    Dell probably does not see enough additional revenue from AMD sales to justify the increased support costs.
  • by Jon Peterson ( 1443 ) <jon@nospAm.snowdrift.org> on Monday April 18, 2005 @12:23PM (#12270483) Homepage
    Unfortunately not. Ramping up CPU production takes a very long time, because you have to build big, complex, factories. Ramping up demand can happen extremely quickly, because it just requires someone selecting the 'amd' dropdown rather than the 'intel' one on the Dell site.

    That is (one reason why) Dell isn't going AMD.

    For those who hadn't noticed (all geeks, apparently) Dell is not a computer company. It is a manufacturing company. It has made great, innovative strides in extremely efficient manufacturing. They just happen to be doing it with computers. The choice of CPU in the box means as much to Dell as the choice of compressor in a Siemens fridge means to Siemens. And the CPU means as much to most consumers as the compressor in their fridge.

    Sure, some compressors are probably more efficient, reliable, quiet, whatever. But if you have n million invested in robots that can install one brand of compressor and not another, are you going to switch? What if you have a huge set of automated hardware tests all of them based on Intel motherboards - are you going to switch? What if you have hundreds of call center scripts based around diagnosing known Intel related problems?

    The actual capability of the processor is NOT RELEVANT. Dell don't sell PCs because they make the best ones. They sell them because they make them very cheap, and can deliver huge orders on time, even when those orders are semi-custom. Dell does not achieve this impressive feat by switching components every time one of them becomes slightly better than another. If you want that kind of thing, there are many PC makers who will do it.
  • Athlons are rock solid.

    Opterons are rock solid.

    Both are GREAT chips.

    Via makes some GREAT motherboard chipsets.

    Via makes some mediocre motherboard chipsets.

    SiS makes some pretty good motherboard chipsets.

    SiS makes some crap motherboard chipsets.

    Not-well-known manufactures take some of the crappier parts, and put them on even crappier boards. Then you get instability.

    With an Intel Chip, and an Intel Board, you know everything is going to work.

    With an AMD Chip, you have to select a motherboard. You've got to do a little bit of research to make sure you aren't buying crap.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge AMD fan. I've got ~7 systems in my home, and several at work, and they are ALL AMD systems. But I've been burned in the past by poor quality motherboards, so I know that they do exist.
  • by Trepalium ( 109107 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @01:07PM (#12270993)
    I don't believe that's the reason, either. AMD would ramp up production if the demand was there. I believe this is far more about getting the best price possible out of Intel rather than really wanting any AMD chips. AMD is just a bargaining chip to use against Intel to ensure that Dell remains a primary beneficiary of Intel co-marketing (a.k.a. market development funds, promotions, etc) and to negotiate better volume discounts.

    Let's be completely honest. All Dell announcements regarding AMD have nothing to do with AMD at all. It's all about Intel.

  • by ikewillis ( 586793 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @01:14PM (#12271089) Homepage
    ...the fact that Slashdot has run about 30 "Dell might maybe possibly be thinking about considering using AMD processors" only to run a "Never mind Dell denies it" stories. How about holding off on running another pair of these stories until Dell officially confirms they're using AMD processors?
  • by oconnorcjo ( 242077 ) * on Monday April 18, 2005 @01:32PM (#12271295) Journal
    It isn't like DELL will have to give up selling Intel if they also sell AMD and having one or two models with AMD won't short supply AMD. This is the Least insightfull comment. If the AMD machines sell like hot cakes at Dell then they are making great $ with AMD and if supplies get short then that means they can raise the price of the AMD machines (supply/demand) and they can still sell a ton of Intel machines no matter if they are selling AMD or not.

    However, if they refuse to sell any AMD then customers who want AMD are forced to buy from someone else. It has not affected thier bottom line much yet but I know of several companies who are thinking of switching away from DELL simply because they want to buy opteron servers.

  • by Sux2BU ( 20893 ) * on Monday April 18, 2005 @01:36PM (#12271337)
    If you really want this to change, then why not call Dell (1-800-WWW-DELL) and try to order a computer with an AMD chip in it. If they can see that they are losing business because of their stance they'll reconsider their policy. By taking the "Dell doesn't sell AMD so I won't bother to call" stance when buying a new computer Dell won't realize that they lost a customer due to their Intel only policy.
  • by Jeffrey Baker ( 6191 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @01:37PM (#12271345)
    You neglected to mention the Dell 1U Xeon machines that catch on fire. Those were pretty neat. Let me tell you, replacing the motherboard in a bunch of 1U servers is not good for your uptime. Neither is fire.

    There's about 100 comments on this page about Dell's amazing manufacturing ability, but it's all ignorant misinformation. Dell relies on Flextronics, Selectron, et al to build practically everything they sell. Dell "integrates" the machine by installing the hard drive and taping up the box. Dell does have a very competent supply chain management operation, but they are mainly managing the supply chain of their subcontractor. Dell has, over the years, turned themselves into a really advanced cross between Gateway and UPS. Don't be fooled into believing they have some huge from-scratch design and manufacturing facility.

  • Re:what (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anarke_Incarnate ( 733529 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @03:06PM (#12272490)
    The WhiteHouse recently released a memo saying they plan to stop this. One thing of theirs I can actually support, YAY.
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Monday April 18, 2005 @04:21PM (#12273508)
    AMD has made an interesting choice here, given that Intel has made the opposite decision.

    Usually the only thing preventing a server class cpu from being used on the desktop is price.

    Alternatively, it is shown that fast desktop chips don't automatically make good server chips due to the different type of workload involved. If desktop chips made equally good server chips, then server chips wouldn't exist at all.

    Conclusion: you'll see AMD dual-processor cpus on the desktop before you see Intel dual-processor cpus in servers.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham