IBM’s New eServer Supports AMD Dual-Core

IBM is looking to get a leg up on the competition with the October 15 launch of eServer 326, a rack-mounted server that supports AMD’s upcoming dual-core 64-bit processor.

Though the AMD Opteron chip isn’t due to hit the market until sometime in mid-2005, the Armonk, N.Y.-based tech giant is positioning to protect its market share in the AMD server sector.

“Having the first product delivered to the market, designed for that
specification, gives us a time-to-market advantage and really builds on all the firsts we’ve had in the AMD market,” said Stuart McRae, IBM’s eServer xSeries marketing manager.

The eServer 326 replaces the eServer 325, IBM’s first Opteron server based on a single 64-bit, x86 processor. In addition to supporting the dual-core processor, the eServer 326 gets a RAM upgrade, with 8 DIMM slots and support for up to 16 GB of PC3200/2700 DDR1 memory.

It also features two PCI-X slots for 64 MHz/133 MHz/100MHz frequencies and two U320 high-speed SCSI or fixed SATA hard drives.

When the eServer 326 ships next month, it will have on board the single-core AMD Opteron chip. Once AMD releases its dual-core chip, customers will be able to swap the old with the new and, officials hope, continue without a hitch.

Equally important, according to McRae, are the Calibrated Vectored Cooling features, which are especially critical in a server environment with dual-core processing. Single-core silicon chip development was beginning to reach the point where heat dissipation and power consumption were losing ground in order to meet the demand for more processing cycles, which prompted AMD’s dual-core strategy.

The eServer 326 is the first two-way server to incorporate the company’s Xtended Design Architectures (XDA), what IBM calls “mainframe-inspired features” for their server line. What they’re trying to bring is the demanding computational powers of the mainframe and squeeze it into a box. In addition to the new cooling scheme, IBM designers built high-speed input/output, integrated RAID and system management capabilities into its XDA.

Once considered an upstart in the chip manufacturing business against powerhouse Intel , AMD has been making waves of its own with its lead in hybrid 32-bit and 64-bit computing environments.

At Intel’s bi-annual developers forum in San Francisco Thursday, officials acknowledged its line of Itanium chips were not selling well. The company is looking to show performance gains in its Intel Extended Memory 64
Technology (Intel EM64T), a hopeful challenger to AMD’s Opteron.

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