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AMD Opteron noses into Euro x86 server sales

The effect of big-name vendors?

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Opteron-based servers are finally starting to chip away at Intel's market share in Europe, market watcher Context has revealed, though the numbers are unlikely to cause a panic among the chip giant's employees.

During Q2, Opteron kit took 0.45 per cent of x86-based server shipments made through resellers in Europe's seven biggest economies - the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands - Context said.

The number is certainly small, Context admits, but it believes it nevertheless marks a "significant" development for AMD. The chip maker's server products have gone from "virtually nothing" in Q4 2003 to 0.23 per cent of the European x86 server market in Q1 2004.

The Q2 2004 is an average - AMD's share peaked at 0.62 per cent in May, Context's sell-through figures show.

It's not hard to see what has lifted AMD: the arrival of Opteron-based servers from HP and IBM. A higher proportion of IBM's server sales are AMD-based, but the overall volume of Opteron servers coming out of HP is higher, Context said. HP ships 65 per cent of the x86 servers sold through resellers in Europe, it noted.

Of course, that reseller component dilutes AMD's overall market share, since Dell's direct, Intel-only sales don't appear in Context's numbers - or, for that matter, smaller server makers who do offer Opteron-based products but also sell direct to end users.

However, the figures do show the importance of big-name support, and that AMD is starting to gain traction among European server buyers. Q3's figure will make interesting reading: will Intel's AMD64-like 64-bit x86 technology, now shipping in top-end Xeon DP CPUs, hinder AMD's momentum, or validate it? And what effect will Sun's Opteron line-up have? ®

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