HP Goes Quad Core With New Servers


HP launched nine quad-core servers, including pedestal, rack-mount and blade models. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said the new products promise up to a 50 percent performance gain compared with servers based on Intel's dual-core processors.

The new servers include three pedestal, three rack-mount, and three blade units, said Christina Tiner, group manager for HP's industry-standard server product marketing. All of the servers come with one processor and at least 1 Gbyte of memory but have no hard drive in their base configurations, Tiner said. The servers also have a socket for a second processor.

Servers with a 1,066MHz front-side bus began shipping on Tuesday, and 1,333MHz versions are expected to become available in January, Tiner said.

List prices for the new quad-core pedestal servers start at $2,039. The rack-mount models start at $2,239 and blades at $2,629.

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Market traction for quad-core systems may take some time, according to solution providers. Dhruv Gulati, executive vice president of Lilien Systems, Larkspur, Calif., said customer demand for quad-core servers has yet to materialize but will come as those systems prove their value.

"We don't have customers demanding the [quad-core] servers yet," Gulati said. "But the servers will fill the gap as customers adopt new, more powerful applications. If they can lower their TCO [total cost of ownership] vs. dual-core, they will vote with their pocketbooks."

A big part of that cost benefit depends on software licensing and how it is calculated, based on the number of cores in a single processor chip, Gulati added. For example, he said, Oracle charges the full license price for a single-core processor and 50 percent on each core in a multicore processor. That results in the same licensing costs for a single-core and a dual-core processor and double the licensing cost in a quad-core processor, he said.

HP rivals IBM and Dell took the wraps off new quad-core servers last week. IBM introduced four Xeon 5300 quad-core servers in its System x series, as well as a quad-core server blade. Dell, meanwhile, added six new Xeon 5300 servers and blade servers to its product lineup.

In addition to the quad-core servers, HP on Tuesday unveiled a Xeon 3000 dual-core ProLiant server targeted at scale-out applications for data-rich environments such as e-mail service providers and Hollywood production companies, Tiner said. The new ProLiant DL320s include one processor and room for up to 12 SATA hard drives, for a maximum per-server storage capacity of 9 Tbytes, she said.

Tiner didn't speculate on whether Intel's Xeon 5300 or AMD's upcoming quad-core processor would have the highest performance. "We expect similar performance when AMD comes out with its quad-core processors next year," she said. "[Intel and AMD] will leapfrog each other over the next few years. I can't tell which will be the fastest."

Also on Tuesday, SGI unveiled the Altix XE1300, a clustering solution based on the quad-core Xeon 5300 processors.

The Altix XE1300 solution includes Altix XE310 compute nodes, which are new servers that can be configured with up to four quad-core Xeon 5300 processors, for a maximum of 16 cores in a 1U rack-mount space. They are based on a four-socket motherboard -- designed by SGI, Intel and Supermicro Computer -- and come with the SGI Altix XE cluster software solution stack of cluster management and development tools. The cluster also includes the Altix XE240 server head, with one or two dual-core or quad-core processors.

The server head and compute nodes, which include InfiniBand connectivity, are expected to ship early next year, according to SGI.