Did Apple make the right choice?

AMD Tech Tour 2005AMD bundles

Instead of finding me at the Apple WWDC where I wished I could be, I was over at the “dark side”… I busted out of work on Monday at noon and made my way to Toronto for the AMD Tech Tour 2005. Peter convinced me to go and drove us up for lunch at Pacific Mall in Markham, then to the Hilton Hotel conference center for the AMD presentation. For the past few years, the AMD Tech Tour has been a way for which AMD reaches out to select system builders and resellers (and opinion leaders) and educates them on leveraging the latest selling points of AMD products.

The most interesting part of this Tech Tour was that it was highly talked about on Fatwallet.com as it was a way in which selected AMD resellers (or those who claim to be) can get access to AMD system bundles at below cost prices. Such bundles included the workstation bundle of an AMD 64bit Athlon chip and ASUS motherboard for $250 (MSRP $300+), as well as a server bundle of two Opteron chips and TYAN motherboard for only $500 (MSRP $1,000+). Each bundle also included the new 64-bit Windows XP software, which was worth more than $400 alone. Each attendee could only purchase one of each bundle. This alone was the reason why I saw lots of lost grandmas, quiet girlfriends and scruffy teenagers in t-shirts and bermudas trying to blend in with the corporate geeks lining up for freebies (Kiasuism is human nature!).

With the competition being Intel and also Dell, AMD essentially spent the whole presentation trying to convince the audience on the key selling points of AMD chips, which included how AMD had a better dual-core infrastructure than Intel’s Pentium D, as AMD’s chip was first to market and uses the same resources as a single-core processor, giving us more processing power per watt. They pitched about how AMD has better price points and is more innovative compared to Intel.

This made me wonder since historically, AMD has been leading the charge on 64-bit and Dual-Core technology which has more room to grow than 32-bit processors. While Intel has strong financial backing, AMD has been more agile and literally pushed the microprocessor industry into the 64-bit world. I guess Steve Jobs went with Intel for the proven track record of delivering stuff that works in the marketplace now, e.g. Dell being the most popular PC brand and which uses Intel chips.

Do you think Apple made the right choice of going with Intel?

One thought on “Did Apple make the right choice?

  1. Steve must be fuming with IBM (no longer IBM actually …) for providing 3.2 Ghz G5 to Xbox 360 when the PowerMacs have only a 2.7 Ghz G5. What a joke to Apple! As for not considering AMD, could it be due to the heat issue? The other thing, 64-bit computing which Apple has been promoting since the G5 and the later OS X … guess its dying out like the cube too?

    With regards to XCode 2.1, the question for me is, since Apple wants developers to program for both architectures — PowerPC and Intel, why even add that option (http://img260.echo.cx/img260/8863/xcodeppcintel9zf.gif) where you have to tick this and that. Doesn’t Apple pride herself as simple to use without hassle (recall the Single Button Apple Mouse)

    Follow up Q on XCode 2.1, will there be lots of overhead if you were to have both selected (PPC and Intel)?

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