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AMD dumps Andersen as test auditor

The chipmaker ditches the crumbling accounting conglomerate behind the Enron debacle and chooses PricewaterhouseCoopers as validator of its benchmark tests.

Advanced Micro Devices has chosen PricewaterhouseCoopers to replace Arthur Andersen, the accounting conglomerate behind the Enron debacle, to audit its benchmark tests.

Since last fall, Andersen has validated benchmark tests performed by AMD as part of the chipmaker's "True Performance Initiative," an effort to get consumers to look at overall performance, rather than megahertz, when buying PCs.

AMD's Athlon chip runs at a lower speed than Intel's Pentium 4. Analysts and others, however, have pointed out that the chips are much closer in performance than the megahertz figure, which measures how fast the chips issue instructions. To this end, AMD has conducted, and publicized, benchmarks showing that its chips equal, or outperform, Intel's best on running graphics applications, spreadsheets, games and other commonly used applications.

Independent validation was undertaken to show that the benchmark tests were objective--a common concern in the industry. AMD, for example, said earlier this year that benchmarks from BapCo were altered to favor Intel.

Andersen has largely been dissolved because of a series of accounting scandals.

An AMD representative stated that the switch occurred in August, but did not state a reason why. Though AMD will likely not suffer from the switch, it has inspired a few jokes.

"Is there going to be a restatement of AMD's benchmarks?," joked one source in the chip industry.