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RealTime IT News

Dell Offers First Dual Core Intel Server

Dell began its gradual changeover to dual-core processors on its computer servers, announcing the PowerEdge SC430 as the first machine to use the technology.

Dual-core technology combines two sockets, or processing units, into a single processor chip. Experts on processors claim this leads to increases in performance despite consuming only the power of a single-core processor.

The relatively new technology has set the stage for another major battle in the war among top chipmakers Intel and AMD, which announced dual core chips for servers in April.

Designed as a replacement to the PowerEdge SC420 for small businesses, the PowerEdge SC430 is meant to ensure e-mail access over the Internet and to serve and print files.

Paul Gottsegen, vice president of worldwide marketing for Dell's enterprise business, said the machine is ideal for small businesses looking to step up their current peer-to-peer networks, or for those looking for their first server.

"A lot of these companies are running many different applications all on one server so what they need is the power of dual core so they can run [Microsoft] Exchange, virus protection, Web servers and a host of other things," Gottsegen said. "The more threads, the more applications can run concurrently."

Dell, which IDC said enjoyed the largest year-to-year growth of 16.6 percent for the first quarter 2005, will look to phase out all of its single-core machines in favor of more powerful dual-core boxes, said Gottsegen.

The SC430 will store as much as four gigabytes of DDR-2 SDRAM memory, three PCI Express Slots, optional SATA drives or U320 SCSI drives.

The box will be offered with a choice of a single 2.53 GHz Intel Socket-T Celeron single-core chip or one 2.8/3.0 GHz Intel P4 Prescott single-core chip for $499, or the dual-core Intel Pentium D 3.0/3.2 GHz processor for $850. Dell servers support Windows Server 2003, Red Hat and SuSe Linux operating systems.

The server comes standard with Dell Server Assistant for PowerEdge SC, a management software tool designed to ease operating system installation. Dell is also offering Microsoft Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) with the PowerEdge SC430 for customers looking to migrate to a client-server environment.

Gottsegen said Dell won't stop with the SC430, which is essentially a stepping stone to more powerful dual core servers from Dell. The Round Rock, Texas, company plans to introduce a series of more powerful dual core machines. But unlike other major server vendors, which offer four-processor dual-core machines, Dell won't offer greater than a two-processor dual-core box.

Multi-core chips with multi-threading chip technology lurks on the horizon as well, though Gottsegen declined to elaborate until the company hashes out its plan some more.

He said the concern is working closely with Intel, choosing from among the 15 different dual core technologies and products that best fit Dell's needs to serve its customers.

Intel is the No. 1 chipmaker, but AMD is ahead in terms of dual-core adoption. IBM, HP and Sun Microsystems have all announced servers based on AMD's dual-core technology.

HP, which originally launched dual-core AMD chips in four-processor systems, introduced two-processor machines last month.