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Dell refreshes AMD chip rumor with 'possibility' upgrade

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Why should 2006 be any different from 2005, 2004 or 2003? That's right. It's Dell using AMD chips rumor time once again.

It took less than two weeks for 2006 to be pumped full of the same rampant speculation that has followed the Dell and AMD non-relationship. As usual, Chairman Michael Dell lands at the center of the rumor spill. Dell claimed there's a "distinct possibility" that his company might use chips from AMD, during a post keynote question and answer session at last week's CES.

Dell, much more than CEO Kevin Rollins, likes to toss out these tidbits to mongrel hacks. We think this is one of the few pleasures the IT industry still offers the young billionaire.

As so often happens, a financial analyst will push Dell's rumor fluffing one step further. Enter PiperJaffray pundit Les Santiago.

"We strongly believe that Dell will start AMD-based system shipments as early as the second half of 2006," he wrote in a recent research note. "We further note that Michael Dell's recent comments noting the 'distinct possibility' of shipping AMD-based systems. Our conversations with sources further indicate that Dell's sales force is demanding Opteron-based server offerings to be able to better compete in the market."

Silly analyst. If history has taught us anything, it's that Dell sees no problem ignoring the performance, price and power consumption benefits of AMD's Opteron chip in favor of the marketing dollars that come bundled with Intel's steamy Xeon. Dell's sales staff has been asking for Opteron kit for ages but to no avail.

While Intel will trail AMD in overall performance for two to three years, it has likely done enough on the dual-core front to keep Dell loyal. Intel has a fine notebook chip lineup, a good desktop line and an adequate server chip line. That's all Dell asks. ®

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