January 3, 2006 9:00 PM PST

AMD's 'Live' to rival Intel's Viiv

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If Grand Funk Railroad is on your shopping list, Advanced Micro Devices has the computer for you.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based processor maker will unveil its "Live" brand at the Consumer Electronics Show, which takes place this week in Las Vegas.

The brand--whose logo will be printed on a sticker on the chassis of a desktop or notebook--will indicate that the computer in question is tuned for home entertainment. Live PCs will come with 7.1 surround sound capabilities, for instance, said Hal Speed, a marketing architect for AMD.

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The company first began to apply the Live designation, which resembles the block stencil lettering found on musical equipment crates, on computer equipment sold to customers in the entertainment industry. The country music show "Austin City Limits," for instance, uses AMD Live PCs.

"The equipment used on the show has 'AMD Live' stenciled on it," Speed said, adding that the brand is supposed to resemble something a roadie might lug around.

AMD's use of the Live designation on PCs is similar to Intel's Viiv strategy. Intel will put its new brand on PCs carrying the technology, which will have been built with home entertainment in mind.

One difference is that Intel will test its Viiv PCs for compatibility with several set-top boxes, download services and music players. Thus, several products will contain "Viiv certified" labels.

In addition, Intel plans to unfurl a major branding overhaul.

AMD will test Live PCs with some products. At CES, for instance, STMicroelectronics will show off a set-top box that works with Live PCs. Overall, however, AMD will rely on products complying with standards set by independent organizations and not perform as much interoperability testing of its own.

"We really think the standards bodies should handle interoperability," Speed said.

AMD will also concentrate on selling only one component--the processor--in Live PCs. To get the Viiv sticker, PC makers have to insert an Intel processor into the box, but also an Intel chipset and networking components. The systems also come with Intel-created software.

"Our approach is to set criteria," Speed said.

Live PCs are scheduled to come out around the middle of the year. Viiv PCs will arrive in the first quarter.

To date, attempts to put the PC in the living room have been a flop. The early version of Intel's EPC computer TV, intended to be the centerpiece of a home entertainment center, sold in low numbers. The upcoming models, however, are smaller than the previous editions and will require fewer fans. More pervasive home networking will also mean that the PC can stay in the den but be operated in the living room with a remote control through the TV screen.

7 comments

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Sticker Shock
I have never left one of their stickers on a computer once it is one my desk. Why would I? If Intel or AMD want to make me happy, make the sticker EASIER to take off instead of changing the font!
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
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HeHe
If you bought the thing, the sticker has already served its purpose. You can do whatever you want to do with it then. They've already got your money.
Posted by whytakeiteasy (29 comments )
Link Flag
AMD is closing in
AMD is closing in on Intel and is closing in fast
Some people will say AMD already surpassed Intel
I think my next CPU will be a AMD

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://otherthingsnow.blogspot.com/" target="_newWindow">http://otherthingsnow.blogspot.com/</a>
Posted by SqlserverCode (165 comments )
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Closing in??
I've long been a fan of the AMD line, they've out-performed qualitative Intel chips for quite some time (even during the years when Intel feverishly denied this), they're much cheaper to purchase, and they're an extremely durable product.
It's good to see the Goliath get knocked around by David, in this case resulting in true competition which allows us, the consumer, to win.
While this latest round might be a battle of branding on media/pc related products we still gotta break it down chip by chip for the better buy.
I would like to ask if anyone has any knowledge of the Mac to Intel switch? Was there some unknown public knowledge here about something Intel has in the works, or was it for the massive scale that they push they're garbage out with? I tell my Mac friend that they should have went with AMD but I'd like to see them stumble with the Craptel!
Posted by brilo (24 comments )
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Processor Diversity
I'm glad that Intel will be seeing some serious competetion in the future. Competition has always been a good source of inovation. But even so, I feel we will eventually come to the point where we not just question the make, but also start looking at an alternative microcode to run. How long can we maintaing the backward compatability to the 8086 code? Consider how many more transistors we can now pack onto an even smaller chip than the old 8086, and even put multiple processors under the hood of the chip with onboard cache, hyperthreading, etc., hardware wise we've made alot of advances. I can envision a computer of the future that contains a chip holding dozens of processors all working together like the synapses of the human brain. I don't really see intel or AMD moving anytime soon away from backwards compatability, they have too much of a market share at stake. I could see motorola doing something like this as they have already produced a good RISC based chip.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
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