AMD Looks to Crash Intel’s Party

Intel would like to have the party to itself all week, but AMD insists on playing spoiler.

At the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) event in San Francisco Tuesday through Thursday, the giant chipmaker is expected to unwrap a series of product announcements, futuristic prototypes and details of its product plans for the next several years.

But much like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, the number-two microprocessor maker is saying as loudly as it can, “I will not be ignored!”

AMD has set up shop in a suite at the Westin St. Francis, not far from where IDF is being held, to meet with reporters, and analysts. Having beaten Intel to market with dual-core server chips, AMD is playing the strongest hand it has to get media and customer attention.

AMD’s well-received Opteron has been gaining market share, even after Intel introduced its own dual-core offering.

On Tuesday, AMD is launching a one-day advertising blitz that challenges Intel to a “Dual-Core Duel.” The ad copy invites Intel to “a live shoot-out” measuring server workloads and energy consumption.

Oh, and there’s one more snipe at Intel in the ad, emphasizing the idea that Intel is playing catch-up: “And AMD is ready to meet anytime in 2005. To give Intel time to release their ‘optimal’ dual-core processors.” The ad features an AMD 64-bit Opteron chip in a boxing ring waiting for a challenger.

Don’t look for Intel to respond any time soon. Intel spokesman Scott Smith said Intel “wouldn’t comment on anything AMD is doing.”

The week will indeed be dominated by news from Intel, starting with Paul Otellini’s keynote on Tuesday morning. The Intel CEO is expected to unveil a next-generation, multi-core architecture, due in the second half of 2006, that will yield new processors that are high-performance and energy-efficient.

In total, there will be 12 tracks and more than 140 hours of technology training, panels and hands-on labs at IDF. On the lighter side, Intel will hold a “Geek Contest” for the expected 5,000 or so attendees, with a Mini Cooper as the prize.

AMD did have one bit of product news to report. The company said that one of its customers, VoodooPC, plans to start shipping notebooks based on the latest AMD Turion, a 64-bit mobile processor. “We’re relatively new to thin and light (notebook computers), but the demand for Turion has been like a rocket ship,” said Hal Speed, a marketing architect with AMD. “It’s a big opportunity for us.”

Two new notebooks from VoodooPC, the ENVY Featherweight and ENVY Middleweight, will use AMD’s 64-bit Turion. VoodooPC, which makes highly stylized machines, says the new notebooks will be “two of our sexiest gaming notebooks.”

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