Dell is coming out with its first servers running Advanced Micro Devices\u2019s Opteron processors.Dell introduced the PowerEdge 6950, a four-socket server, and the PowerEdge SC1435, a two-socket model, Monday at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco.Dell says the 6950, with a base price of US$6,500, is designed for demanding computing work such as database management, server consolidation, virtualization and migration from reduced instruction set computing processor-based systems.The SC1435, with a base price of $1,300, is designed to run in dense rack server environments and is targeted at small- to midsize businesses seeking improved price-performance and energy-efficiency."These products further the price-performance leadership that Dell has had in the server market, and also improved performance by watt," said Michael Dell, chairman of Dell, in a keynote address. Dell, like other server makers, is touting the efficiency of new models as data center managers try to curtail power consumption due to high energy costs.Up until now, Dell had used only Intel server processors, but is now joining server competitors Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, IBM and others in offering AMD Opteron processors as an alternative to Intel\u2019s Xeon processors."Dell finally came around," said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst with Insight 64, a technology market research firm. Dell had been able to satisfy its customers by selling only Intel-powered machines, but when AMD\u2019s Opteron began to cut into Intel\u2019s market dominance, Dell\u2019s customers started asking for the Opteron alternative too."Until the past 12 months, [not offering Opteron] never really hurt Dell, but it was beginning to have an impact," Brookwood said.Hector Ruiz, AMD\u2019s chief executive officer, hinted at the Dell announcement during a keynote address he made prior to Dell\u2019s at OpenWorld, which organizers said is to draw more than 40,000 IT professionals this week at the Moscone Center. Ruiz said the main reason the tech economy slumped in the early 2000s wasn\u2019t typical economic fluctuations. "It was because IT professionals didn\u2019t have the choices you needed," he said. "Now you will have a real choice in processors."Although AMD presents a strong challenge to Intel, it has come at a price. AMD reported a decline in gross earnings in third-quarter results released Oct. 18\u2014to 51.4 percent, from 55.4 percent in the previous year\u2019s quarter\u2014which the company attributed to a price war with Intel.Of Monday\u2019s news of Dell using Opteron, Intel representative Erica Fields said: "Our server group is just coming off a record quarter where we believe we gained share in the highest volume segments. It\u2019s our job to continue to convince Dell and their IT customers that we have the best products for any computing need."Intel last week revealed its plans to introduce a four-core server processor, called Tigerton, in the third quarter of 2007. A quad-core processor for high-end desktops and a dual-core processor for servers will be available in November. By Robert Mullins, IDG News Service (San Francisco Bureau)Related Links:\n\nIntel \u2018Surprised\u2019 by AMD\u2019s Dell Win\n\nDell Plans AMD Servers as Profit Drops\n\nDell to Recall 4.1M Batteries Due to Fire HazardCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.