MONTEREY, Calif. -- The growing graveyard of dot-com companies and daily deluge of news about tough times and layoffs at tech companies apparently hasn't crushed the server market.

The server market, which is at the mercy of spending by large companies, suffered in the fall as companies either disappeared or pulled back spending. But now microprocessor giant


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says the server market is experiencing the same encouraging trends as the personal computer market.

Intel Thursday told investors at the

Salomon Smith Barney

semiconductor conference here that it has seen a bottom and that it expects a return to seasonal patterns. And servers, the powerful computers that companies typically need to run databases or Web sites, are no exception.

"What we said on the last call was we said that we thought on the computer side we were going to get back to seasonality and that certainly also included the server business," said Michael Fister, general manager of Intel's Enterprise Platforms Group.

"I deal mostly with my customers,





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, and they're all saying the same thing. And our interaction with end users is limited, but I would say people are looking for ways to have stronger companies coming out of this thing than not. A lot of them need improved base systems and infrastructure to do that," Fister explained.

On April 17, Intel was the first of the semiconductor companies

to say that it believed demand for personal computers was at or near a bottom. The then surprising statement followed months of dismal PC demand, and weak revenue at Intel and other makers of the microprocessors that power these computers.

And Intel may soon face PC-market nemesis

Advanced Micro Devices

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in the battle for server business. AMD Chief Executive W.J. "Jerry" Sanders in a presentation earlier Thursday took aim at Intel's hold on the server market, arguing that his processor for servers -- currently in development -- would outperform Intel's. In addition, start-up



, which also presented at the conference, is gunning for the front-end server market with its low-power chips.