Dell chairman, Michael Dell, has told Gartner's Symposium and ITXpo that he believes Intel's dual-core chips will take over the performance lead from AMD in 2006.
Gartner analysts, John Enck and Jennifer Beck, questioned Dell on a variety of topics during the session, returning often to the question of how Dell can continue to grow at a rapid pace.
Enck asked Dell the question he's heard many times over the past two years: whether or not the company would consider using processors from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
Dell has long claimed that its exclusive relationship with Intel allows it to minimise product development costs, but many analysts also think that Dell receives substantial rebates on processor purchases for remaining loyal to Intel.
However, analysts and companies such as HP, which sells servers using processors from both companies, think that AMD has had a performance advantage over Intel for a few years.
This would change when Intel introduced processors based on its 65-nanometer processing technology, Dell said.
"Intel takes a very definitive lead in performance and power management at 65 nanometers ... If we thought AMD was going to be supercompetitive in the spring and fall of next year, we'd be introducing AMD products right now," Dell said. Enck did not follow up and ask why Dell hasn't introduced AMD products over the past year, given that Intel did not have that performance lead at the 90nm process generation.
Earlier this week at the HP Technology Forum, managers from HP told users that AMD's dual-core Opteron would have a performance lead over Intel's dual-core Xeon in the first part of next year. They said it was too early to evaluate the performance of the chips that will be available from both companies in the second half of 2006.
Dell also discussed the growing importance of services to his company's future growth plans. PCs rule the roost at Dell, but the company's dramatic growth in that market has slowed in recent quarters. Enterprise technology services represented a relatively small area of Dell's business, but that would change in coming years, he said.