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Less jive in AMD Live

AMD may have been late to RSVP to Microsoft's Media Center party, but its AMD Live initiative is easy to pronounce and easy to understand. Like Intel's VIIV, AMD Live! specifies requirements for processor horsepower and power consumption. It also focuses on personal content, an underutilized asset by PC manufacturers. PCMag,com lays out the software suite, which includes several excellent free Web services from Orb Networks and Streamload, but also some that, while useful, have little to do with multimedia or entertainment, such as Pure Networks' Network Magic and LogMeIn, a competitor to the better-known GoToMyPC from Citrix Online.

Speaking of Orb, Avvenu announced that it can now stream music files from your PC (like Orb) and mirror your files on its servers (like Google Desktop). The latter service will have a $30/year subscription fee. I've been a fan of Avvenu's simplicity, but I'll be interested to see how it handles MP3 files as its organization scheme is not the best.

Maybe it's playing a bit of catch-up, but AMD seems to be keeping pace with Intel on power consumption, the golden criterion cited by Apple in embracing Intel exclusivity. The Mac product line isn't broad enough to leave a lot of room for multiple chip suppliers, but switches aren't unprecedented. Ask IBM.