AMD Business Class plan to help SMBs shave costs

AMD Monday announced Business Class, an initiative to gain market share among small to medium enterprises. Opening the door for longer lifecycles, it will lower PC total cost of ownership, according to AMD.

The Business Class initiative calls for AMD to support and ship processors and chipsets from first product availability for up to 24 months. The initial lineup for the plan includes: Phenom X3 triple-core, Phenom X4 quad-core processors and Athlon X2 dual-core processors.

Validated Business Class motherboards, based on the 780V chipset, are available from MSI and ECS, and with Asus joining soon.

The first Business Class products will be in the following PCs: new HP dc5850 and dx2450 desktop systems, a refreshed Dell OptiPlex 740 and new Esprimo E5625 and Esprimo P5625 PCs from Fujitsu Siemens.

"We think it's great that AMD has decided support longer life cycles, we know it is something customers want, so they don't have to make changes that often," said Fredrik Grahn, category manager for desktop at HP Sweden.

But HP doesn't pass the full benefit of Business Class on to its customers; the DC5000 is stable for 12 to 15 months, not 24.

"It's still a new program," said Grahn.

The Business Class plan will also include the upcoming next-generation notebook platform code-named Puma.

"AMD is trying to create a platform, instead of just selling processors it wants to sell a solution, which has been a big success for Intel. So AMD want to go that way as well," said Eszter Morvay, senior research analyst at IDC.

Morvay thinks Business Class is a good idea. But AMD needs to focus more on mobility instead of desktop PCs, if it wants to lure small and medium-sized businesses.

"Small and medium-sized businesses aren't buying desktops any more, they are buying laptops," she said.

Business Class has a better chance of becoming a success in the public sector, where cost is critical and stability is very important, according to Morvay.

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