Dell starts 2-processor server at $1,399

Dell starts 2-processor server at $1,399

Although it costs about the same as a desktop PC, the Dell PowerEdge 1500SC server has dual 1.13-GHz Pentium III processors, a 1-Gbps data bus and hot-plug drives. That's because Dell is 'on a tear' to capture workgroup server leadership, said Subo Guha, director of enterprise product marketing. Federal buyers get a 6 percent discount on General Services Administration IT Schedule.

John Pollock, in charge of Dell's enterprise federal segment, said federal buyers 'historically have said cheaper is better' for servers at field and remote sites with few workers. Such sites commonly put their old PCs to work for peer-to-peer networking, he said, but 'they're confronted by the support needed to keep small LANs running' without on-site administrators.

Although the 1500SC tower's price is low-end, it comes with a server motherboard and a choice of Microsoft Windows 2000, NT 4.0, Red Hat Linux 7.2 or Novell NetWare. A hardware monitor automatically reboots the server if the operating system freezes.

Federal customers have been 'asking us for redundant drives and power supplies,' Pollock said. A RAID storage array and hot-plug power supplies are optional with the $1,399 server.

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