Hewlett-Packard Co. on Monday is rolling out an entry-level workstation based on Intel Corp.s new 3GHz Pentium 4 microprocessor and accompanying 875P chip set, which includes such functionality as performance acceleration and hyperthreading technologies.
Armed with the new Intel technologies—including a faster 800MHz front-side bus and greater memory bandwidth—the single-processor HP Workstation xw4100 will offer up to 5 percent performance increases with mainstream applications over the Palo Alto, Calif., companys current systems, and 27 percent increases for more specialized and intensive applications, said Jeff Wood, director of product marketing for HPs personal workstation group.
The new workstation will replace the current xw4000 and xw5000 systems, Wood said. Among the new features are a new chassis that can be converted from a minitower to a desktop system, he said. The optical drives also can be rotated 90 degrees and offers an I/O panel and two USB 2.0 ports on the front of the workstation.
The chassis is also tool-less, making it easier to upgrade and maintain, Wood said. The xw4100 starts at $799.
There currently are two flavors of the workstation available, one powered by a 3GHz Pentium 4 with an 800MHz front-side bus and a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 version with a 533 front-side bus. In May, when Intel, of Santa Clara, Calif., releases the Pentium 4 chip with the 800MHz front-side bus at 2.6GHz and 2.8GHz, HP will offer the xw4100 with those capabilities, Wood said.
The xw4100 is the latest workstation that HP has rolled out that combines attributes from previous offerings of systems from both HP and Compaq Computer Corp., which HP bought in May 2002. In November, the company rolled out the xw6000 and xw8000 workstations, as well as the xw4000 and xw5000 systems. The xw6000 is targeted at users with space constraints, such as financial trading floors, while the xw8000 is aimed at what Wood called "power users." He said the xw4100 will be the last of the consolidated workstations.
"You could think of maybe a dual-processor system for the long term, but a lot of customers want performance and expandability in the 8000," Wood said. "But you also have 40 percent of the market in the financial trading market, and having a system for space-constrained environments is important."
Formerly named Canterwood, Intels chip set comes with a number of improvements, including the 800MHz front-side bus and support for dual-channel DDR400 MHz system memory. Hyperthreading enables a chip to work as two virtual processors, and the performance acceleration technology increases the data flow between the processor and system memory, according to Intel.
The companys Communications Streaming Architecture, in conjunction with Intels new Pro/1000 CT Desktop Connection Gigabit Ethernet controller, doubles networking bandwidth.
Intel said the chip will be available soon, starting at $417 per 1,000-unit quantities. The chip set—priced at $53 with integrated software RAID and $50 without—is shipping now.
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