Servers bulk up eight ways with Intel's Profusion chip set

Servers bulk up eight ways with Intel's Profusion chip set

Dell's eight-way, 550-MHz PowerEdge 8450 server measures 12.25 inches high and is rackmountable.

By Patricia Daukantas

GCN Staff

The arrival of Intel Corp.'s long-delayed Profusion chip set has sparked a profusion of eight-way symmetrical multiprocessing servers based on the 32-bit, 550-MHz Intel Pentium III Xeon chip.

'The chips are ready to crunch,' said Eric Cannell, a product marketing manager at Dell Computer Corp.'s server division. Prime uses will include hosting massive databases and Web sites and running large-scale enterprise applications, he said.

Pat Buddenbaum, IA-32 marketing manager for Intel's server component division, acknowledged that the chip set, slated for release last spring, encountered significant validation challenges that held it up.

The Xeon incorporates Pentium III technology with additional server-centric features such as up to 2M of Level 2 cache, Buddenbaum said. Each processor can support as much as 32G of memory in anticipation of the resource-hungry Microsoft Windows 2000, which Microsoft expects to release late this year or early next year.

At least 15 makers have designed Xeon servers, and about two dozen vendors will ship eight-way systems by year's end, Buddenbaum said.

The eight-way Dell PowerEdge 8450 will run Windows NT Server 4.0 now and Win 2000 when it becomes available. Buyers also can choose a Unix configuration under the company's DellPlus custom factory integration service.

The PowerEdge 8450 comes with 512K of cache, Cannell said. This year the server will have 16G of memory, and next year the company will certify it for 32G to run Win 2000 Server. The 8450 model includes four 66-MHz and six 33-MHZ hot-plug PCI slots and a utility for replacing PCI Cards, Cannell said.

Half a dozen

Base pricing with one CPU and 256M of memory starts in the low $20,000s, Cannell said. But most buyers will order six to eight processors when Dell starts taking PowerEdge 8450 orders Sept. 7, he predicted. Volume shipments will begin by month's end, Cannell said.

Compaq's eight-way ProLiant 8500 comes in a seven-unit rackmount size, which measures 12.25 inches high with 11 64-bit PCI expansion slots. The ProLiant 8400 has a 14-unit, 24.5-inch-high rackmount design with one 32-bit and 10 64-bit PCI slots.

Pricing for the General Services Administration Information Technology Schedule is not yet set, Compaq spokeswoman Bethany Lieberman said, but the systems' retail prices range from $20,000 to $80,000.

Data General Corp., which is being acquired by storage giant EMC Corp. of Hopkinton, Mass., announced an eight-way Aviion AV 8900 departmental server and a high-end AV 25000 server, which can handle as many as 64 of the 550-MHz Pentium III Xeon processors.

Hitachi Data Systems Corp.'s VisionBase 8890R eight-way server in a 10-unit 17.5-inch-high rackmount chassis comes with 32G of synchronous dynamic RAM, six hot-swap low-voltage-differential disk bays and 12 64-bit PCI expansion slots. The 8890R has a memory access speed of 1.6 gigabytes/ sec, company representatives said.

'Folks have been waiting so long for Profusion that everyone's on the block, ready for the starting pistol to be fired,' Dell's Cannell said.

Contact Compaq at 800-345-1518, Dell
at 800-388-8542, Data General at 800-343-8842 and Hitachi Data Systems at 800-776-6747.

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