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Dell Releases New Linux Workstations

Dell is jumping on Intel's Extended Memory 64-bit Technology (EM64T) bandwagon pretty hard these days, but it is really moving product with the help of Linux.

The Round Rock, Texas-based computer maker listed two new workstations at its online store Wednesday. The Dell Precision 470n and 670n workstations run on Intel's latest Xeon Nocona processors with its coordinating Tumwater chipset.

Pricing for the 1U or 2U towers start at $1,603 for the 470n with an option for three hard drives and $1,903 for the 670n with space for four hard drives. The standard configuration includes a 2.80GHz Xeon with 1MB L2 cache, which can be upgraded all the way to a 3.40GHz chip.

The workstations also contain several advanced technologies such including 64MB PCI-Express x16 (DVI/VGA) nVidia Quadro NVS 280 videocards, and 512MB DDR2 memory, 400MHz, ECC.

Precursors to the new machines are the Dell Precision 470 and 670 workstations. Launched in late June 2004, the originals were offered with Linux or Windows. The two new machines start off as a blank slate DOS unit, but Dell is promoting the Linux pre-install as part of the package.

"With these new systems, customers can choose to purchase factory-installed Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 with either the x86 or EM64T support," Dell Linux Engineer and blogger John Hull said in a post Wednesday. Certifications for both workstations have also been posted on Red Hat's Hardware Compatibility List.

The products are a precursor to next week's LinuxWorld celebration in San Francisco, where Dell and its rival OEMs will profess their undying support for Linux. While Dell does not have a corporate representative this year, the company is expected to maintain a visible presence.

Dell has been performing well with Linux thanks in part to low-end (under $5,000) x86-based servers. According to market research firm Gartner, Dell experienced the strongest growth rate among top-tier vendors, as its revenue increased 24.8 percent from the first quarter of 2003. Dell also experienced the largest unit growth rate among the top-tier vendors, as its shipments increased 38.4 percent.