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HP, IBM Launch Dual-Core Wares

As previously expected, HP and IBM launched new servers to accompany the launch of Intel's Xeon DP dual-core chips, code-named Paxville.

The chip has two processing engines, or cores, to pack more power onto a single wafer without boosting power consumption. These factors make dual-core very attractive to cost- and space-conscious enterprise customers.

HP is trotting out three models with varying utilities: the two-processor HP ProLiant DL380 and four-processor HP ProLiant ML570 and DL580 servers.

The ProLiant DL380 is a 3.5-inch-thick rack server designed for a variety of deployments and applications. The machine has been fitted with Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) technology and boasts eight hot-plug drives.

The ProLiant DL580 is housed in a chassis seven inches wide. It features hot-plug RAID memory and supports up to 64 gigabytes (GB) of memory.

Rounding out the new launch is the ProLiant ML570, which is an expansion server with hot-plug RAID memory and support for up to 3 terabytes of internal storage, 10 PCI slots and 64GB of memory. These features make the ML570 a prime candidate for enterprise applications, server consolidation and remote site deployment.

Colin Lacey, director of HP's server group, said test environments showed that ProLiant servers using dual-core can boost the performance of database, enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management applications without increasing systems costs.

For example, in a recent four-processor benchmark, the dual-core HP ProLiant ML570 exhibited a 44 percent performance improvement over the highest single-core ML570 system.

The dual-core HP ProLiant DL380, DL580 and ML570 are expected to be available within the next two months, starting at $4,200, $7,000 and $6,000, respectively.

Lacey said HP will add additional dual-core Intel Xeon processor and Intel Xeon processor 7000 ProLiant systems in the future but declined to get into specifics.

Separately, IBM unveiled the new dual-core xSeries 346 system, which comes with a single dual-core Intel Xeon processor at 2.8 GHz.

The machine will feature open bay hot swap SCSI drives, dual gigabit Ethernet, a DVD drive, and a single hot-swap power supply. Starting at $2,969, the x346 will ship next week.

The new dual-core x336 will become available later in the fourth quarter, with pricing and specs released at that time.

HP and IBM, along with Sun Microsystems, have already been offering dual-core systems since April, albeit in machines fitted with AMD's Opteron chips.

While Dell is sticking with offering only dual-core chips from Intel, IBM and HP are offering customers both Intel and Opteron architecture choices because of very specific differences that meet customers' various application needs.

Lacey said AMD's Opteron dual-core processors are prized for their direct connect technology to counter memory latency; Intel's Xeon wafers have higher cache levels and faster clock speeds.

He also said Opteron chips tend to consume a little less power than the Intel Xeon architecture, and support up to 128GB of memory, double the support of the Xeons.