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Intel's Sales Jump 34%, Its Best Quarter Ever, Buoyed by Sales From the High- and Low-End

Intel released its quarterly earnings today for the second quarter of 2010, typically a pretty slow one for tech companies (the "summer doldrums" is a refrain among tech journalists, this time of year). But Intel bucked expectations with a huge quarter. The chip giant took in $2.9 billion profit over $10.8 billion revenue, a big increase over last quarter and a massive one over last year, in which Intel actually posted a loss.

What caused the bump is actually pretty surprising. My first instinct was the introduction of the speedy new Core processors, like the i3, i5, and i7, which are powering most high-end laptops and desktops these days, would be the likeliest culprit. But while sales of those have been good, it's actually a combination of the high- and low-end chips that are making Intel so much bank.

Intel's Atom chip, a very low-power, low-energy chip used in netbooks, was assumed to have left its brightest days behind—netbooks are passe, right? They're being replaced by tablets like the Apple iPad and ultraportables like the Toshiba Portege and Lenovo X100e, or at least that's what the common perception is. Turns out sales of the Atom are actually up 16%, which caused an analyst to say "I'm shocked."

On the high end, looks like sales of server internals are way, way up: The advent of cloud computing means lots of companies need to invest in high-powered servers, most of which are powered by intel's chips. Those chips, as it turns out, are much more expensive, and thus more profitable for Intel. Big win all around, it seems.

Dan Nosowitz, the author of this post, can be followed on Twitter, corresponded with via email, and stalked in San Francisco (no link for that one—you'll have to do the legwork yourself).