After Intel suit, Fujitsu Siemens launches AMD machines

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Microprocessors from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) are once again taking a prominent place in PCs manufactured by Fujitsu Siemens Computers GmbH, the companies announced Tuesday.

Fujitsu-Siemens launched the Esprimo E small form-factor PC and Esprimo P tower in the second quarter, but only with Intel Corp. processors. Now the German PC maker is taking orders for Esprimo E and P models with AMD processors, and will ship them at the end of the month to customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to Fujitsu-Siemens spokeswoman Sabine Twest.

The launch of the new models comes just two weeks after AMD accused Intel of using its influence with PC manufacturers to shut AMD out of the market.

In a lawsuit filed June 28 in the U.S., AMD wrote that its chips once powered over 30 percent of Fujitsu-Siemens' consumer PCs, but that in early 2003, "Intel offered Fujitsu-Siemens a 'special discount' on Celeron processors which Fujitsu-Siemens accepted in exchange for hiding its AMD computers on its website and removing all references to commercial AMD-powered products in the company's retail catalog."

As of Tuesday, however, PCs with AMD processors had top billing on the front page of the Fujitsu-Siemens Web site.

The timing of the launch is unconnected with AMD's lawsuit, according to Twest, who pointed to AMD's plans to announce its quarterly results on Wednesday as a more likely trigger for the announcement. "Our new product development with AMD is a long process," she said.

The Esprimo E is priced from €749 (US$904) with an AMD processor, or from €849 with an Intel chip, Fujitsu-Siemens said. Esprimo P models with AMD processors begin at €599, it said. Fujitsu-Siemens quotes reference prices for Germany, including value-added tax (VAT).

The company has no plans to offer AMD processors in its Esprimo C ultra-small desktop range, as there is not the same level of demand for it as for the Esprimo E and P, which are "huge volume products," Twest said.

The Esprimo E desktop models contain a 3.5-inch drive bay which can be used for a second hard disk, a wireless LAN module, a smart card reader or a memory card reader. Two rear panel configurations are available, one with slots for two full-height PCI cards and one low-profile PCI Express x16 card, and the other with slots for four low-profile cards. They have two USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports and an audio connector on the front panel.

The existing Esprimo E5905 ships with Intel's Pentium 4 processor or Pentium D dual-core processor and its 945G Express chipset, while the new Esprimo E5600 will ship with an AMD Athlon 64 or Sempron processor and the SiS761 chipset.
Both AMD and Intel models have a quiet cooling system that Fujitsu-Siemens says produces just 24dB of noise even under high processor load.

The Esprimo P has a similar specification, but in a minitower case and without the choice of back panels.

By Peter Sayer
IDG News Service