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?