AMD has started shipping its 350MHz K6-2 processor with 3D Now, spearheading the company's push into the corporate market. Previous versions of the K6-2 will be positioned against new Celeron offerings from Intel running at 300 and 333 MHz, which now include 128Kb of cache on-chip running at the same frequency as the processor.
The new K6-2 will go head-to-head with Intel's Pentium II chip. AMD is hoping to undercut Intel by 25% on comparable processors to attract OEMs. "As long as Intel is unable to sustain a low price, there will always be an opportunity for competitors," said Ashim Pal, senior analyst at the Meta Group. But at the corporate level, AMD's price advantage may not be enough. Intel's strength in the chipset market means it can offer PCs with embedded instrumentation conforming to the DMI (Desktop Management Interface) specification, which may appeal more to large companies concerned with total cost of ownership (TCO) than a simple unit price advantage. "AMD might have some success with SMEs (Small to Medium Businesses), but large companies could be too high a mountain for AMD to climb," said Pal. "For consumers, the price point is critical, whereas corporates can justify a price premium by focusing on TCO." He added that AMD would have to rely on its chipset partners to come up with motherboards that would appeal to the corporate market. Rana Mainee, European planning manager at AMD, agreed that more support on the motherboard is needed, but claimed this is not a major hurdle.
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