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With Alienware buy, Dell will sell AMD-based computers

It finally happened, just not the way many thought.

With the acquisition of Alienware, Dell will sell computers with chips from Advanced Micro Devices. The deal closes in about 30 to 45 days.

Alienware will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary, and Alienware CEO Nelson Gonzalez said that the deal will not affect its relationship with AMD. Granted, circumstances can change, but that's the plan now.

The number of AMD PCs Alienware offers rises and falls, but AMD chips are typically always part of the company's active line of computers. Right now, Alienware sells AMD-based desktops, workstations, media centers and a notebook.

The subsidiary nature of Alienware's status means that consumers won't see AMD chips in computers that are primarily branded under the Dell name (instead of being Alienware machines) as a result of this deal. But still, since Dell owns Alienware, they are technically Dell computers.

That leaves Apple as the only major computer maker selling Intel-based, but not AMD-based, computers.

Dell has resisted selling AMD-based computers for years for a number of reasons. The popularity of AMD's Opteron chip for servers, however, has prompted some to speculate that Dell may adopt Opteron.

Dell rarely makes acquisitions. The Alienware buy is only the third or fourth in the company's history.