IBM to announce new Madison, Xeon servers

IBM Corp. plans to announce Monday two new servers based on Intel Corp.'s new Itanium 2 processor, known by its Madison code name, IBM said Friday. The company will also provide details on five servers based on new Intel Xeon MP and Xeon DP processors, it said.

IBM waited almost 10 months after the release of the McKinley version of Itanium 2 in July 2002 to launch an Itanium server, but will make two Madison Itanium 2 models available in the third quarter.

The 4U (7-inch) eServer x450 will be released on July 18 with up to four 1.5GHz Itanium 2 processors each with 6M bytes of Level 3 cache. It uses a new version of IBM's Enterprise X-Architecture (EXA) chipset, which allows customers to connect groups of processors when scaling up their systems.

The x450 comes with a 1.3GHz Itanium 2 processor with 3M bytes of cache, 1G byte of memory, and two power supplies for a base price of US$25,999. This price does not include a hard drive or operating system.

New Itanium 2 processors will also appear in the eServer x382, which is a two-way server designed to be used in Linux clusters for scientific applications. It will be available on August 20 for US$26,589 in a base configuration that includes two 1.5GHz Itanium 2 processors, 4G bytes of memory, and two 73G-byte hard drives.

The new versions of Itanium add clock speed and cache to the 64-bit chip, which has received favorable performance reviews but lukewarm interest from IT managers. Dell Computer Corp. announced its Madison Itanium 2 server Wednesday in a conference call, and other vendors are expected to announce systems on Monday, when Intel will launch the chip.

IBM, based in Armonk, New York, will also unveil new Xeon-based servers on Monday. Xeon is a 32-bit chip used in smaller servers for applications that require less processing power than the large databases or high-performance computing applications for which Itanium is designed.

The eServer x445 will arrive in a 32-way version later in the year, but a 16-way version with Intel Xeon MP processors will be available on Tuesday. Customers can connect groups of four processors with the EXA chipset in order to build a 16-way server.

A base configuration of the x445 costs US$18,599 with two 2.0GHz Intel Xeon MP processors and 2G bytes of memory. It does not come with a hard drive or operating system.

IBM's new x360 and x255 will be available on Monday with Intel Xeon MP processors, and the new x205 and x225 will be available over the next several weeks with Intel Xeon DP processors.

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