AMD Adds A Helping Hand To Its Desktop Program

System builders supporting desktops in the validated system program, which is slated to begin this month, can phone an AMD-managed call center if problems crop up, said Marty Seyer, senior vice president of AMD's Commercial Business Segment, at a technology briefing earlier this month. Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD also will coordinate shipment of replacement parts when necessary, he added.

Brett Kennedy, desktop business development manager at Seneca Data, a North Syracuse, N.Y.-based system builder, said the program's value depends on which board maker a system builder is dealing with, since customer service varies from vendor to vendor.

"AMD is leveling the playing field, which is not a bad thing," Kennedy said. "The customer will get a consistent level of customer service no matter who is making the board."

As previously reported by CRN, AMD has been investigating centralizing support for its Commercial Stable Image Platform (CSIP) for desktop and client systems, which was launched last year. CSIP is part of AMD's drive to more deeply penetrate the commercial channel. In the past, some system builders have had trouble placing AMD-based desktops into corporate and education accounts because of the lack of standardized platforms.

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CSIP promises system builders that each platform will stay in production for at least 15 months. AMD will put together a series of motherboards, CPUs, chips and drivers that will be available for validation every September to December and will go into production for at least 12 months afterward. The company also is providing at least 60 days of advance notice to changes in the platforms.

Intel—which offers a proprietary, tightly coupled platform of CPU, chipset and motherboard—appeals to corporate customers looking to reduce support costs, system builders said. Corporate and education customers want to be able to manage a system image on a platform for a year or longer.

Despite the advances in AMD's program for corporate desktops, Kennedy, like many other system builders, called for AMD to begin building its own motherboards to help better control quality. "AMD should have its own brand," he said.

AMD executives in the past have said the company isn't getting into the business of making chipsets or motherboards.