HP customers buying Proliant servers can now buy exactly the same servers but with Opteron inside; HP are now shipping with AMD chips inside, not just Intel. The move, which HP is keen to make clear is not a replacement strategy, its said to be making HP really happy indeed, as they talk (breathless with excitement) about better performance, lower prices and lower power consumption relative to the Intel versions.

There are a number of factors at work here: AMD cutting prices while Intel is, well, not; all the spare processing power left over from the dot-com bubble being consumed; server rooms left half-full because the air-con and power supply are at full load already; and a rapidly growing market for dual-processor servers, both rack-mounted and blade.

HP believes, even although AMD is a relevant newcomer in relation to Intel, that buyers are less resistant to change than they were three or even two years ago, and that AMD provides enough of an advantage over Intel to make them at least consider the change. Only time will tell.