AMD looks to be back in Dell's good graces

Is AMD recovering lost ground in Dell's PC lineup? Things are looking that way, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

The paper points to the Inspiron 546, which it describes as "the first mainstream desktop model featuring AMD processors that Dell has highlighted on its Web site in 18 months." A look on Dell's desktop family page shows that the Inspiron 546 indeed has a prominent spot. Dell appends "New!" to the model name and advertises a starting price tag of just $269.

The base config pretty much reflects that figure: a 2.3GHz Sempron LE-1300 processor, 2GB of DDR2 RAM, Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics, a 320GB hard drive, and Windows Vista Home Basic. Highlighted with a "Featured Deal" header, the next configuration costs $459 and comes with an Athlon X2 and a 17" display. You can upgrade to a Phenom X3 or X4, too, but don't look for 45nm Phenom II options here—you won't find any.

Nevertheless, AMD sounds pretty excited about being back in action on Dell's website. "It is AMD showing up back in force in the meat of the (Dell) desktop line . . . It was an all-Intel SKU (stock-keeping unit) for a while, and now it is an all-AMD SKU," said AMD's Bob Grimm to the Statesman. The paper also quotes AMD as saying the Inspiron 546 "is the desktop model that Dell promotes the most online."

Dell and AMD's relationship hasn't always been rosy since the first AMD-based Dimension desktops came out in September 2006. As the Statesman points out, Dell featured nothing but Intel systems on its website last year, having relegated AMD machines to its "expanding retail store connections."

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