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HP announces four-way Opteron system

It's the first big vendor to offer a four-processor server based on the chip

By Robert McMillan
April 19, 2004 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - Hewlett-Packard Co has become the first major vendor to offer a four-processor server based on the 64-bit Opteron chip from Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
HP is expected to announce today the ProLiant DL585, a 4U-high Opteron-powered sister product to its DL580, which is based on Intel Corp.'s Xeon chip. (1U is 1.75 in. high.)
The new server will have two more PCI-Extended slots than the 580 and will support up to 64GB of memory -- 32GB more than the 580, according to Steve Cumings, HP's group manager for ProLiant systems.
The 585 will also be less expensive than the Xeon-based system. An entry-level two-processor configuration of the DL585 built with AMD's fastest-performing 2.2-GHz Opteron 848 processors will cost $11,999, Cumings said. A similar configuration of the DL580 based on Intel's fastest processor, the 2.8-GHz Xeon MP, will list for $15,798, he said.
Because of differences between Opteron and Xeon, however, the DL585 won't have the memory protection features of the Xeon system. "Because of the Opteron architecture, you have the memory controller on the processor itself, so it's not actually possible to deliver Hot-Plug memory in the way we've done it with the Intel processors," Cumings said.
The DL580's Hot-Plug feature lets the system replace a failed memory unit on the server, he said.
High-performance computer users have embraced dual-processor Opteron systems, using them as inexpensive 64-bit components in large computing clusters. But HP's four-way system may now extend Opteron's appeal into the enterprise, according to Mark Melenovsky, an analyst at industry research firm IDC.
Four-way systems are typically designed for enterprise users running packaged applications who have not yet embraced the Opteron processor, Melenovsky said. "It's going to be an interesting battleground for AMD and for Opteron against Intel," he said. "Users are strongly wedded to Intel and the Intel brand."
Opteron systems accounted for only about 800 of the 228,000 four-way x86 servers that shipped in 2003, Melenovsky said. And while IDC hasn't estimated how many four-way Opteron systems will ship in the year ahead, it expects the total x86 four-way market to grow to 245,000 units in 2004. That growth would be fueled in part by the new HP system, as well as a planned four-way Opteron server from Sun, which is expected by the end of June.
Additional processors for the DL585 will list for $4,699 each, HP said. A four-processor DL585 with 2GB of memory will list for $21,397, the company said.
Also today, HP will announce three new preconfigured 32-node computer clusters based on its ProLiant servers. The clusters will be available with eitherthe Xeon-based DL140 and DL360 servers or the Opteron-based DL145 server.
The clusters, called the HPC LC Series, will be priced starting at $67,829, HP said.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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