Dell to stop selling AMD-based PCs online?

August 18, 2006 was a big day for AMD. On that date, Dell officially announced plans to start selling Dimension desktop PCs based on AMD’s processor, finally ending its long-time exclusive partnership with Intel. The move was likely instrumental in helping AMD conserve its market share as Intel unveiled the Core 2 Duo.

Barely two years later, the magic may have worn off. DailyTech reports that Dell posted a notice on its website to say its AMD PCs were now available only at retail stores. The notice has since been taken down, and Dell systems with AMD chips (like the Latitude D531 and the Inspiron 531) are still available online. However, we did see the notice after a search for "AMD" on Dell’s website, and it read verbatim, "Shop for Dell computers with AMD processors in retail stores. See our retail partners for details. . . . Computers with AMD processors are not available online."

The notice’s appearance does hint that Dell could be ready to change its partnership with AMD and phase out AMD-based offerings from its online business. This potential move might be a result of AMD’s recent woes—both financial and technical—and its failure to snatch the performance crown back from Intel. Of course, those problems haven’t stopped other PC makers like Gateway from offering Phenom-based systems.

Comments closed
    • computron9000
    • 12 years ago

    Dell is stupid. They make mass produced computers for the masses. They don’t follow trends in performance, since it doesn’t matter that much to them. It’s all about profits, short/mid/long-term contracts, etc. It has nothing to do with processor performance. Intel has its hooks in almost everyone (just like Microsoft) and the only way to upset it is massive domination dollar for dollar.

    Consider “Alienware” Dell’s “experimental” venue, where they will continue to sell “bang for buck” AMD processors as necessary when they can get them in bulk with the motherboards to satisfy certain requirements.

      • UberGerbil
      • 12 years ago

      I hope you meant to write “is *[

    • pluscard
    • 12 years ago

    It appears theories abound on this Dell move.

    One thing is for sure, AMD’s asp is precisely 1/2 that of Intels. Since the end units sell for similar prices, Dell makes more off the AMD powered box, same as HP, Acer, etc, explaining AMD’s continued marketshare gains despite the superior C2D product from Intel.

    One theory promoted on other boards is that with the choice of AMD in the configurator, Dell was actually selling too many AMD units. Cutting AMD out of the configurator probably pacifies Intel while Dell still sells the heck out of AMD boxes at Walmart and Bestbuy.

    An interesting side note: Intel lost the Dell exclusive about the same time they gained Apple. Despite the volume Apple represents, Intels marketshare is actually down, except in mobile where they picked up less than 1% gain. Meaning Intel is losing a lot of share in the traditional “non-apple” x86 market.

    Plus

    • Vaughn
    • 12 years ago

    I think you both missed my point, yes you can’t swap boards and the sockets are different but were not talking PC vs MAC here. So support issues will be similiar between the two.

    There will not be huge differences here, they are minute both systems will be running the Same OS and have compatible hardware.

      • just brew it!
      • 12 years ago

      Actually, supporting twice as many motherboards /[

    • Vaughn
    • 12 years ago

    While I agree with most of your post SGT Lindy, how is supporting an Intel Processor CPU any different than a System with a AMD cpu? The only difference it the processor all the other internals are interchangeable. And since both processor are X86 cpu’s I don’t see a difference.

      • Nitrodist
      • 12 years ago

      Motherboards aren’t interchangeable.

      • just brew it!
      • 12 years ago

      Intel and AMD processors have used incompatible sockets since the Pentium 3 days. So if you sell both Intel and AMD systems across most of your product line, you have to support two different models of motherboard at each price point instead of one.

        • gaffo
        • 12 years ago

        no – incorrect.

        pent-3 and athlon were not interchangable.

        not since the old AMD486-80/100 have you been able to interchange an AMD with an Intel chip.

        You could interchange an Winchip-1/Winchip-2 with a Pentium-1 however.

      • UberGerbil
      • 12 years ago

      This makes a lot of sense.

      People who configure the box on the website know and care about the processor details. People shopping at BB mostly don’t.

        • bfellow
        • 12 years ago

        True, Dell is selling PCs in Best Buy now.

        However, they also probably got the news of the Phenom 9750 and 9950 being delayed to end of Q3.

          • insulin_junkie72
          • 12 years ago

          Dell is also in WalMart these days, too.

          (Useless trivia: Dell also used to sell in Best Buys some years back, when Best Buy was still Minnesota/Wisconsin only – the top of the line was a 486/100, IIRC, to give you an idea of the timeframe)

    • Third Eye
    • 12 years ago

    The main reason DELL caved to AMD so late is that AMD had already filed the lawsuit against Intel and it gave a cover to DELL to move to AMD w/o losing face

    • Dposcorp
    • 12 years ago

    Dell and Apple can be so stupid at times.

    They both wait for years to make the move to a different CPU vendor, and in the mean time AMD was crushing Intel and Motorola/IBM in performance on the desktop.

    Apple finally made the move, but one has two wonder how many more machines Apple would have sold if they were powered with the Original Athlon 64 and later the X2s.

    Dell switches to AMD just as Intel makes a come back.
    They announce AMD sales on August 18, 2006.
    I see the TR Conroe review was posted on July 14, 2006.
    §[< https://techreport.com/articles.x/10351<]§ Dell should have learned from their past and Apples past about relying on a single source for CPUs. They need to stick with AMD, if for no other reasons then to keep low priced offerings and to keep Intel honest.

      • SGT Lindy
      • 12 years ago

      And that is why you are running Dell or Apple. Sure the AMD captured the performance crown for 2…maybe 3 years?

      That performance crown only mattered to PC enthusiasts for the most part. The vast majority of people buying Dell computers did not care.

      AMD never captured the more important factor, market share. Even more important is the Fab capacity something Intel has always been way better at.

      Going with one CPU vendor can have its disadvantages, but advantages as well. Designing and supporting computers that only use Intel CPU’s greatly simplyfies many things.

        • gaffo
        • 12 years ago

        AMD had the performance crown since 1999 through 2006.

        thats 7 – yrs.

        in real world software the Athlon beat the Pent-2/3 and 4.

        7-yrs, not 2 or 3 yrs.

        …………………

        Dell should have started using AMD in 2000 – and jumped ship in 2006 when the core came out. Dell is run by morons obviously.

        as for Apple – they made the right choice, remember they were THIS CLOSE to closing the deal with AMD when the Core was still in testing phase. Apple backed out of the talk with AMD nealry a year before Core was released – and ended up using Intel’s chip. Obvously they got to see an early release Core and tested it with their OS-X port and decided it was the better chip MONTHS before Core even went public.

        So Apple’s timing was perfect!

        unlike the morons at Dell.

          • UberGerbil
          • 12 years ago

          Dell would have lost millions of dollars in discounts on Intel processors if they’d jumped to AMD anytime before 2006. AMD would not have been able to match that, considering the volume of CPUs they could’ve produced — even if Dell had purchased all of AMD’s output, AMD would’ve had to sell them at a huge discount for it to be worth it to Dell.

          And Dell seemed to have had no problem selling machines despite Intel CPUs not having the highest performance. Sure, the unwashed masses didn’t know about AMD much less know that AMD was faster — but that’s because Intel could afford to spend more on marketing than AMD earned year in and year out to brainwash those masses. That money created demand, and it also helped pay for some of Dell’s advertising budget (every Dell ad that features the Intel logo and jingle at the end involves “co-marketing” dollars from Intel). So in addition to paying more for the CPUs themselves, Dell would’ve had to pay more for marketing as well… and they might’ve been growth constrained by AMD. Let’s see, Dell reduced their costs, increased their profits, and didn’t hurt their marketshare or revenue. Yes, what morons.

          The only place staying Intel-exclusive really hurt Dell was in the server space. There the performance benefit of AMD was clear and understood by the customers, particularly as 64bit took off. That was a high-growth area that Dell got into late, and was handicapped by the Xeon chips compared to Sun and HP (once they had adopted AMD). On the other hand, being Intel-only helped on the mobile front because the processor discounts (on processors that really were the performance leader vs AMD) and co-marketing dollars (“Centrino!”) helped them grab marketshare in notebooks, the other high-growth segment. So it’s probably a wash.

      • Forge
      • 12 years ago

      But see, if your cute girlfriend won’t do something kinky, you can just loudly ponder going with the not as cute but very perverse chick, and your GF will cave in.

      Well, sometimes she’ll just dump your loser self, but it’s a metaphor, folks.

      AMD wanted to stop putting out the great deal they gave Dell, or Dell wanted to explore strange new discount arrangements that sounded uncomfortable to AMD, so this announcement goes up and then disappears to get things moving.

      It’s much ado about nothing.

        • Shining Arcanine
        • 12 years ago

        If I had a girlfriend and I did that, I would not have a girlfriend anymore.

      • UberGerbil
      • 12 years ago

      Actually, both companies were smart and both made rational decisions whether you’re evaluating them at the time or in retrospect.

      Apple’s most pressing need was for notebook processors, as the G4 Macs were getting very long in the tooth and IBM/Motorola couldn’t deliver a 970/G5 with the thermal and power profile necessary for a notebook . AMD didn’t have anything to offer them in “original Athlon 64” timeframe either. By the time the Turion was available, the Pentium M was already the better choice (in everything except 64bit, but Apple didn’t have their 64bit OSX figured out until this year so it didn’t matter). Changing out the guts of your entire product line is a major challenge, and you really want to go with a supplier who can help you with that as much as possible. Intel could give Apple a complete platform, including chipset and engineering help, as well as compiler and kernel/driver expertise; AMD at the time couldn’t come close to matching that (and in many ways still can’t). AMD also may have been stretched simply to meet the volumes Apple might require. Making a change as fundamental as Apple made with the switch to Intel is an incredibly risky move; the stupid decision would be to do it with anyone but the strongest partner.

      Dell stopped single-sourcing from Intel immediately after Intel changed their volume price schedule. As soon as Dell could buy from AMD without losing extra discounts from Intel, they did so. Buying from AMD prior to that would’ve driven up their costs, and that would’ve been stupid.

      No, as much as you would like to think otherwise, both companies were anything but stupid.

        • blastdoor
        • 12 years ago

        very well said

    • bdwilcox
    • 12 years ago

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