Big Blue is the last of the major vendors to officially add AMD's quad-core processors to its server portfolio.
IBM is the latest
to add Advanced Micro Device's quad-core Opteron processors to
its server portfolio.
The Armonk, N.Y., company will now officially begin selling three different
System x servers that use AMD's quad-core
chip, formally code-named Barcelona.
The three systems, which are being announced May 28, are the System x3455,
x3655 and x3755.
The announcement marks a long-awaited milestone for AMD.
all four of the major server vendors
-Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Sun
Microsystems and IBM-along with a host of
smaller system vendors now offer quad-core Opterons within their product
AMD's struggles to bring its quad-core
processors to market have been well-chronicled since the chip maker announced
that it would release the chip for servers and workstations in September. The
delay in bringing the processors into the server market has contributed to the
company's bleak financial situation, although AMD's
management has promised a return to stability by year's end.
The latest support for Barcelona,
however, may come a little too late to make much of a difference in both the
server and the x86 chip markets. Intel has sold millions of quad-core
processors since November 2006, and now these multicore processors are almost
standard options with a range of systems.
Intel is already planning to move ahead with a new microarchitecture-Nehalem
the end of the year, and AMD is already looking
toward shrinking its chips,
including the quad-core models, from 65 to 45 nanometers
by the end of the year, which will give the chips a performance boost. This
might also give customers a reason to hold off buying an AMD-based
system as they wait to see how the new microprocessors perform.
Both chip makers are also planning to add more and more cores to their
silicon in the next two years.
The first of the IBM systems to use the
quad-core Opterons is the System x3755, a 4U (7-inch) system that can hold up
to four processors. The server offers up to 128GB of DDR2
RAM (double data rate 2 RAM),
and a total of four hot-swappable hard disk drives with a total capacity of
1.2TB. The system uses the Opteron 8360 SE model that runs at 2.5GHz.
The System x3455 is a 1U (1.75-inch) server that holds either one or two
processors, offers up to 48GB of RAM, and
has two SATA II (serial ATA) hard disk drives that have a maximum capacity of
1.5TB. IBM lists a number of processors that
it offers with this server, including the Opteron 2352 (2.1GHz), the 2356
(2.3GHz) and the 2360 SE, which is not listed on the AMD
Finally, IBM has the System x3655, a 2U
(3.5-inch) system that supports one or two processors, has a maximum of 64GB of
RAM, and supports eight 2.5-inch SAS (serial-attached
SCSI) hard disk drives that offer 1.8TB of capacity. The system supports either
the Opteron 2352 processor (2.1GHz) or the 2356 model (2.3GHz).
All three of the IBM systems are
available in June. Pricing for the System x3455 starts at $1,809; the x3655, at
$2,499; and the x3755, at $3,407.