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AMD Takes on Intel with Turion Technology

In its latest move to compete with rival Intel, AMD today introduced Turion 64 mobile technology, the latest in a succession of chips based on AMD64 architecture.

Turion is designed for thinner and lighter notebook PCs with longer battery life, enhanced security and compatibility with the latest graphics and wireless solutions. AMD said Turion will be available later this month in PCs built by Acer, Fujitsu Siemens and Packard Bell.

“This is just the first of many innovations that we are planning to pioneer with this new product family made for mobility, choice and best-in-class notebook designs,” said Marty Seyer, corporate vice president and general manager, microprocessor business unit, computation products group, AMD.

AMD’s Latest Weapon

AMD’s Turion is the company’s latest weapon in an ongoing, uphill battle with Intel. AMD sold less than 9 percent of all notebook computer microprocessors last year, according to research firm IDC. Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, has an overwhelming 86 percent market share.

But AMD is hoping to score points with its customers with its open industry standard technologies designed to help PC manufacturers deliver feature-rich systems that satisfy the variety of ways in which people use their notebooks.

“By embracing a broad partner community and industry standards, AMD is both providing choice and stimulating innovation,” said Roger Kay, vice president of client computing at IDC.

But Is It Enough?

Leading global manufacturers, hardware vendors and software suppliers have expressed support for Turion. But is AMD’s “open” strategy enough to help it steal significant market share away from Intel? Analysts said probably not, at least in the near-term.

Kay told TechNewsWorld that Intel created the mobility space with its Centrino while AMD watched from the sidelines. Turion, he said, finally gives AMD something to talk about in the mobile space. But Kay said the added value is questionable because few people are demanding 64-bit computing at the client level.

“You can talk about head room for tomorrow, but those arguments fall on deaf ears because no one is going to keep a notebook long enough for it to be tomorrow’s computing platform,” Kay said.

“To some degree there’s a certain amount of smoke to touting 64-bit computing because nothing that it does in 64 bits is any better than what is being done in 32 bits today,” he continued. “There’s not a lot of 64-bit software out there.”

Still Punching

Nevertheless, Kay said AMD will probably do fairly well with Turion, at least in terms of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) support. OEMs, he said, are always looking around for Intel alternatives. Kay called AMD’s Turion “timely.”

“What Turion really represents to me is AMD is making up for lost ground where it didn’t have anything in this space for the longest time,” Kay said.

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