Dell is upgrading its line of two-way servers and workstations to make them ready for quad-core processors, the centerpiece of a number of hardware announcements the OEM is making around the extension of its hardware portfolio.
On the heels of introductions of two notebooks powered by chips from Advanced Micro Devices, Dell on Nov. 8 also is unveiling the first of its AMD-powered commercial desktop PCs.
The announcements come at a time when the Round Rock, Texas, system maker is working to regain the momentum of the past few years that had carried it to the No. 1 spot in global PC sales and made it the fastest-growing server maker.
That momentum has waned over the past year, illustrated by sagging financial results, a federal probe of the companys finances and rival Hewlett-Packard overtaking Dell as the global leader in PC sales. However, the past six months have seen a strong push by Dell to remake itself, most starkly by the adoption of AMD technology after almost three years of steadfastly standing by its Intel-only mantra.
Selling into the enterprise is key, given that corporate hardware sales account for 80 percent of Dells revenues, according to the company.
The latest moves illustrate that aggressive push. Dell, which in October unveiled its first Opteron-based servers, is among the first OEMs to offer servers that are quad-core ready. Customers can now order the PowerEdge 1950, 2900, 2950 and SC1430 servers, and the 1955 rack server, which will be delivered once Intel makes its upcoming quad-core Xeons available. That is expected to happen this month.
The quad-core technology and the enhanced management capabilities and features that offer easier maintenance, improved price/performance and better energy efficiency are keys differentiators going forward, said Stori Waugh, senior marketing manager for Dells PowerEdge systems.
Quad-core systems will bring four-socket performance to lower-cost dual-socket systems, Waugh said. The result will be two-socket systems that are powerful enough to handle such tasks as virtualization and server consolidation.
"This is the beginning of the end of the four-socket [server]," Waugh said. "Four or five years from now, the four-socket market will be half of what it is today."
That would play into the vision Dell has of the future data center, one populated with smaller systems linked together to create power computing environments. In virtualized environments, the new quad-core servers improve virtual machine performance by 44 percent and can host 33 percent more virtual machines than the current dual-core systems, she said.
Pricing for the quad-core servers will start at $1,049. For the quad-core Precision workstations—the 390, 490 and 690—pricing starts at $2,149.