Like a durable heavyweight, chip giant Intel will withstand the latest jabs from AMD and kidney shots from Transmeta--at least in this round.
Despite Intel's continuing manufacturing delays and AMD's improving mind share, Intel still has the support
However, the one-two punch from competitors will pressure Intel to defend its market share. Transmeta's low power chip, Crusoe, is targeted at the thin and light mobile-market, while AMD's low-cost Duron aims for the low end of the PC market.
With Duron, AMD will gain a performance advantage over Intel and its own low-end processor, Celeron. Duron will run at 600 MHz, 650 MHz and 700 MHz (soon to be matched by Intel), but the AMD processor features a faster bus compared with Celeron's.
What does that mean? Not much. Quite frankly, a consumer who buys an $800 PC doesn't really know or care about the differences between a 200 MHz front-side bus and a 66 MHz front-side bus, or the differences in the amount of cache integrated into the processor.
Gartner does expect AMD to continue as a strong performer in the PC market's low end, where price is the main criterion for consumers. Transmeta, however, is going after a growing, yet still relatively small, segment of the market: thin and light mobile-devices. Transmeta will have to demonstrate its technical, financial and manufacturing prowess to succeed, or even make inroads into this Intel-dominated segment of the PC market.
Although Transmeta continues to gain attention due to the differentiated value it offers--that is, significantly longer battery life on thin and light mobile-devices--the company is still a relative unknown that has yet to demonstrate its ability to meet PC manufacturers' requirements.
In sum, it will take more than a couple pinpoint blows to take down Intel, the reigning champ.
(For related commentary on why administrators should care about Transmeta's new chip, see TechRepublic.com--free registration required.)
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