Dell Optiplex 740Dell has launched a new AMD-powered desktop for business.

The OptiPlex 740 contains either the Athlon 64 or 64 X2 AMD processor, replacing the Intel Pentium used in the last-generation OptiPlex 620. The upcoming OptiPlex 745 will however use Intel's new "Conroe" Core 2 Duo chip.

The decision to go with AMD's chip is important for the chipmaker, which has relied on its growing success in the server market to compete with Intel. AMD's server market share has more than doubled to 25.9 percent of x86-based servers, according to Mercury Research.

Dell began selling its first AMD-based servers in October, including the PowerEdge 6950 and SC1435 models. This week, Gateway followed suit, announcing it would use AMD's Opteron chip in three new rack-mounted servers, the E-9422R, E-9522R and E-9722.

AMD still needs to break into the desktop and laptop markets however if it is to become an equal competitor with Intel. It has had some success with Lenovo and HP.

Dell launched its first AMD desktops in September, offering Athlon or Sempron chips in the Dimension E521 and C521. And last week, it announced its first two notebooks with AMD chips, the Inspiron 1501 and Latitude 131L.

Dell's OptiPlex 740 will also make waves in the graphics market. It will use Nvidia's nForce core logic package, including networking and storage interfaces as well as pure graphics, said Drew Henry, general manager of Nvidia's media and communications processor business unit. Dell chose nForce because it is a well-defined package, and corporate IT departments demand stability of drivers, software and operating systems in their business desktops, he said.

"Over the past few years, we've been slowly and very quietly moving into the server marketplace, with wins on HP, IBM and Sun," said Henry. "And we've been executing a strategy to get specified on more commercial and enterprise products."

Dell has not yet released a price or availability for the Optilex 740.

Original reporting by IDG News Service