Intel's Springdale to appear in new IBM PCs

IBM Corp. will release three new desktop PCs Wednesday based on new Intel Corp. technology in a bid to stimulate enterprise PC buying, the company said.

All three models will use Intel's Springdale chipset, now known as the 865G. The new chipset supports Pentium 4 processors with an 800MHz front-side bus, and systems with DDR400 (double data rate) memory.

As part of Wednesday's announcement, Intel is also bringing its hyperthreading technology to slower processors in its Pentium 4 product line. Hyperthreading is a technique that convinces a system's operating system that two processors are present on a single processor system, causing it to send more instructions to that processor. Prior to Wednesday's announcement, hyperthreading was only available on the 3.06GHz and 3GHz Pentium 4 chips, and Intel's Xeon server chips.

Other major PC vendors are expected to release systems with Intel's new technology on Wednesday.

IBM's ThinkCentre S50 and M50 are designed for corporate customers considering enterprise-wide PC replacements or new deployments, said Dilip Bhatia, worldwide segment marketing manager for IBM. IBM will also release the A50p, a desktop designed for media applications, on Wednesday.

The new PCs were designed with IT managers in mind, Bhatia said. IBM will guarantee that drivers and other components will remain stable for at least a year, and the PCs will ship with ImageUltra, the company's software for managing images on a network's PCs. IBM will also include an improved version of its Rapid Restore feature in the new PCs, and customers can opt for an integrated security chip that can store important data away from the hard drive.

The S50 is a small desktop, measuring 12.2 inches wide by 14.1 inches high by 3.3 inches high (31cm by 36.5cm by 8.4cm), when set up horizontally. It is made completely out of steel, and all components such as the hard drive or system board can be removed without tools, Bhatia said. A base configuration with a 2.0GHz Intel Celeron processor, 128M bytes of memory, a 40G-byte hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive costs US$729.

IBM's M50 is available in three shapes: tower, desktop, or small desktop, Bhatia said. It comes with enhanced support for Linux distributions from Red Hat Inc. and SuSE Linux AG. A base configuration with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 processor, 256M bytes of memory, a 40G-byte hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive costs US$979.

The A50p is designed for smaller businesses interested in media applications, Bhatia said. A base configuration with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4, 128M bytes of RAM, a 40G-byte hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive costs US$699. Later this year, IBM will release a similar model called the A30 at a lower starting price of US$469, Bhatia said.

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