AMD Targets SMB Market with New Initiative

In a move that could impact channel vendors and white-box manufacturers, chipmaker AMD has launched an effort to bring hardware into the SMB market.

In a move that could impact channel vendors and white-box manufacturers, chipmaker AMD has launched an effort to bring hardware into the SMB market. AMD's new Business Class initiative is designed to fill a large existing gap in its product line.

The action is a bold move by AMD, which has made respectable gains on the server side with the Opteron processor. The company also is popular with home users because of its lower-cost chips and with gamers who like its more powerful processors.

However, that has left a gaping hole in its product coverage: business desktops. The company has not had the presence in that market it has enjoyed in servers and enthusiast desktops. It seeks to change that with the launch of AMD Business Class, an initiative designed to bring AMD-based hardware to the corporate world with emphasis on the SMB market.

Bob O'Donnell, vice president for clients and displays at IDC, said it makes sense. "It's an important step for them. They've been a player in that market, but a smaller player. They've gained inroads in enterprise desktops in the last few years, and this is a logical progression."

The initiative involves AMD's full desktop line: single and dual-core Athlons, triple-core Phenom X3 and quad-core Phenom X4. The reason for the variety, explained Teresa DeOnis, commercial platform marketing manager, is that a channel vendor like HP would want quad-core for its most technically advanced customers in major markets, such as the U.S.; it also wants to offer a low-cost machine in emerging markets.

As part of the roadmap, AMD is assuring customers that it can keep these processors around for at least 12 to 24 months, an assurance it has not made before. "That's important to SMBs because they want to standardize on certain configurations and want to maintain a stable hardware image over time," said DeOnis.

AMD would work on certifying motherboards and has lined up Taiwanese makers MSI, ECS and ASUS to qualify boards with business class features, like remote management and improved power savings, and also plans to work on BIOS for fewer updates.

In addition to the processors, AMD has lined up the 780V chipset for these business systems, which has low-power state functionality that makes the motherboards Energy Star 4.0-compliant. The 780V also has integrated graphics, or the customer can get discrete graphics with an add-in video board.

O'Donnell said AMD has what it takes to compete with Intel's vPro business initiative. "There's a lot of attention on vPro but there's not a lot of people taking advantage of it," he claimed. "We don't see it widely deployed or taken advantage of." Intel would likely beg to differ.

(This article was adapted from



TAGS: Microsoft,chips,Intel,HP,AMD

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