HP launches Compaq server, desktop products

Hewlett-Packard announced Tuesday several new products developed by the former Compaq, whose acquisition by HP was finalized on May 7.

New versions of the AlphaServer family were announced, including the AlphaServer DS20L server and the AlphaServer SC20 supercomputer. Two new Evo desktops for business customers were also released, the Evo D510 Desktop, and the Evo D310 Desktop, which all feature Intel Corp.'s new 845G chipset. Additionally, HP released two new versions of the Evo Notebook N800, one for corporate users and one for small businesses and consumers.

The AlphaServer family has now been updated under its third owner. Compaq acquired the RISC (reduced instruction set computer) technology that powers the DS20L and SC20 when it bought Digital Equipment Corp. in 1998.

RISC microprocessors are designed for intensive computing applications, such as detailed graphics or research and development. Each processor is limited in the number of instructions it is required to undertake, allowing it to perform those limited tasks much faster than ordinary microprocessors.

The DS20L and SC20 are targeted toward users in the telecommunications business, and users engaged in "high-performance technical computing (HPTC)," said Rich Marcello, vice president and general manager of the Alpha systems division. HPTC users include life sciences companies, which would use the machines for intense computational processes, he said.

Each DS20L server comes with two 64-bit Alpha processors, and features up to 2G bytes of memory. A system with 512M bytes of memory and 18.2G bytes of disk storage has an estimated price of US$18,000, HP said in a release. The DS20L is 1U (1.75 inches or 4.44 centimeters) high, 19 inches (48.26 centimeters) wide and 20 inches (50.8 centimeters) deep, allowing space-conscious businesses to place up to 40 DS20L servers in a 6.5-foot (1.95 meters) high rack-mounted configuration, the company said.

"We're packing a lot of power into a 1U module, which will appeal to companies with limited area," said Marcello.

The SC20 is made by combining DS20L units, which can scale to a maximum of 128 DS20L servers, or a total of 256 Alpha processors. It will come with a base system of eight Alpha processors and 4G bytes of memory, and is estimated to cost $290,000 when it ships in August, HP said.

Both systems run HP's Tru64 Unix, and the DS20L is also available with the Linux operating system. The new systems will not run on OpenVMS, as they are targeted at the telecom and HPTC markets, where HP doesn't have enough VMS customers for a VMS version to make sense, Marcello said.

Compaq announced in June 2001 that it would be transferring its 64-bit servers to Intel's Itanium microprocessors by 2004, before HP signaled its intention to buy Compaq. HP will honor the Compaq road map for the Alpha microprocessor, and Alpha users can expect improvements and support for the rest of the decade, he said.

The new Evo models utilize the Intel Extreme Graphics technology, which enables users to experience graphics performance comparable to that of a common 32M-byte graphics card, without having to purchase the card, HP said. The Evo D510 models will feature USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0 technology, which allows for faster data-exchange rates between desktops and other hardware, such as digital cameras and portable music players. Available in early June, the Evo D510 will cost around $769 with an Intel Celeron processor, or around $899 with an Intel Pentium 4 processor.

HP will place an Intel Pentium 4 processor inside the D510 Ultra-Slim computer, which measures 2.72 inches by 12.4 inches by 12.83 inches, is priced at $809, and will also be available in June.

The Evo D310, available immediately, carries the lowest price of any of the new PCs, priced at $749 with a 1.7GHz Intel Celeron processor, 128M bytes of DDR SDRAM (Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic RAM) a 20G-byte hard drive, and Intel's 845G chipset with Intel Extreme Graphics. It is designed for business users who only need basic functionality in a PC, HP said.

Corporate notebook users will also have a new machine to choose from within HP's N800 series, the N800-C, which will feature a three year warranty and increased support, HP said. The N800-B, for small business users and consumers, comes with a one year warranty. Base specifications for the two machines, priced at $1,709, include a 1.6GHz Intel Pentium 4-M processor, 256M bytes of memory, a 20G-byte hard drive, and ATI Technologies Inc.'s 32M-byte Radeon graphics card. Wireless users can purchase the Multiport module, available in a Bluetooth version for $129 and an 802.11b version for $189.

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