IBM Servers Intro New Intel 64-bit Chip

Joining rivals HP and Dell in the race
to develop infrastructure featuring the new 64-bit Intel Xeon chip, IBM
refreshed its line of xSeries machines, adding cooling and
virtualization features.

The company again honored its company-wide agreement to bring
so-called mainframe-like technologies to smaller machines. Based on the
Intel Xeon Extended Memory 64-bit Technology (EM64T) “Nocona” chip, the new
blade server, workstation and one-way and two-way servers feature IBM’s
Xtended Design Architecture (XDA).

XDA, a “mainframe-inspired” feature package that extends the capabilities of
IBM’s current X-Architecture to the 64-bit environment, is geared to help
the 32-bit to 64-bit extended systems access larger amounts of memory and
lend more punch.

Sixty-four-bit computing has dominated the talk among chipmakers and server
vendors in the past year, because OEMs are looking to satisfy
customers’ hunger for computing machines that can handle
increasingly intensive applications.

Big Blue expects to lead the competition with the new products, according to
Stuart McRae, marketing manager for IBM’s xSeries eServers.

According to IDC, HP currently
leads the market for Intel-based servers, followed by Dell and IBM. However,
IBM has been the fastest growing Intel server
vendor over the last eight quarters, IDC said.

“We believe from a technology perspective the 64-bit-enabled systems are a
great thing for the industry and customers but will also be a turning
point,” McRae told “Customers won’t necessarily be
deploying those applications next quarter, but over the next 12 or 18 months
they will, and it will have impact.”

McRae said the turning point is not unlike when the industry shifted from
16-bit to 32-bit computing a few years ago. He also said this means
commoditization for Intel servers is over, creating new opportunities for
server vendors to garner more market share.

One of the ways IBM intends to differentiate its gear from Dell or HP
products is its Calibrated Vectored Cooling, a key feature from its XDA
architecture. McRae said CVC is the market’s most advanced architecture for
cooling servers that get red-hot from running 24/7 and quickly pipes cooling
air through the server.

New products fitted with CVC include a
refresh of the BladeCenter HS20, which starts at $3,559 for a two-processor
system with 2 gigabytes of memory and is the first blade to employ Intel’s
EM64T. It is available now.

New rack systems with CVC include the x336 and x346, which are intended to
replace the x335 and x345. The x336 is a 1U (1.75 inches) rack that starts
at $2,209 for a 2.8 gigahertz system with 512 megabytes of memory, while the
x346 is a 2U rack priced at $2,339 for a 2.8 GHz system with 512 MB of

The x226 and x236 are new tower systems, replacing the x225 and x235, which
will be supported if customers choose not to upgrade. Starting
capacity/price for the 2-way Intel Xeon EM64T server is $1,255 for a 2.8 GHz
system with 512 MB of memory. The x236 is $2,139 for a 2.8 GHz system with
512 MB of memory.

The existing
x206 and x306 machines for small- and medium-size business have also been
upgraded and are shipping now with the new Intel Xeon EM64T. Pricing for the
x206 begins at $909 for a 3.2 GHz system with 256 MB of memory while the
initial cost of the x306 begins at $1,409 for a 3.2 GHz system with 512 MB
of memory.

IBM unveiled a new workstation, the IBM IntelliStation Z Pro, which is
powered by a 2-way Intel Xeon EM64T up to 3.6 GHz. Pricing starts at
$2,375 for a 3.4 GHz system with 512 MB of memory.

The server products feature Simple Swap, which means the system
has to be powered down. But users can rip out the faulty drives and replace
them without using a screwdriver to pull them out or worry about cabling.

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