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Opteron boosts healthy server market in Q3

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During the third quarter, customers were rushing to get their hands on AMD's dual-core Opteron chip. And how. Sales of Opteron-based servers more than doubled in the period, according to new figures from Gartner.

An impressive 174,000 Opteron-based servers left the shipping docks during the third quarter. That compares to just 76,000 systems in the same period last year. Still, however, vendors moved far more Intel-based systems with sales increasing to 1.56m units from 1.44m, Gartner said.

"AMD is showing some really strong growth," said Gartner analyst Joe Gonzalez. "But you have to realize that AMD is not suddenly going to knock Intel off the top. AMD could grow like this for quite awhile and still not seriously challenge Intel."

AMD has managed to claim more than 10 per cent of the worldwide market for x86-based systems in just two years.

Overall, the server market grew 5.6 per cent, according to Gartner, to $12.5bn. Sales of x86 systems jumped 12 per cent, while sales of RISC/Itanium boxes fell 2 per cent.

As usual, IBM and Dell enjoyed strong quarters, pushing their total server sales higher by 9 per cent. HP grew revenue as well by 6.6 per cent, and Fujitsu kicked up sales by 5.7 per cent. We'll give you one guess as to which of the Tier I server vendors saw its sales drop in the period.

Done? Okay, yes, the answer is Sun, which saw sales fall by 7.6 per cent.

IBM remains the top server seller with $4.1bn billion in sales, followed by HP with $3.5bn, Dell with $1.3bn, Sun with $1.1bn and Fujitsu with $690m.

For those of you who love blood and guts, we have the Itanic figures too.

In total, the Itanium crowd managed to sell $619m worth of systems, which is up from $358m last year. Not bad, but still about $6bn or so away from original forecasts. HP likes to keep most of the Itanic money to itself, shipping $423m in boxes. NEC has usurped SGI's spot at the number two Itanic vendor with $82m in sales, while SGI shipped $49m in servers. Fujitsu and Groupe Bull round out the top five with $15m each. IBM and Dell have rather conspicuously fallen off the Itanic sales chart after turning their back on the "industry standard."

Is Intel's delay of the dual-core Montecito version of Itanium hurting HP? It looks that way. HP's Itanium server shipments dropped to 6,200 units in the third quarter versus 6,770 units in the second quarter. ®

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