The announcement comes about a month before the giant chip maker is expected to unveil its new dual-core processors. Dells systems sporting the new chips will start shipping within the month, around the same time Intel announces the processors, said Neil Hand, vice president, worldwide enterprise marketing for Dell Product Group.
At the Oracle OpenWorld show earlier this month, Paul Otellini, president and CEO of Intel, said the chip maker would make its first dual-core Xeons available within the next 30 days.
Dell is putting the dual-core Xeons for single- and dual-socket systems on the PowerEdge 1850, 2800 and 2850 servers and 1855 blade servers, as well as Precision 470 and 670 workstations, Hand said. The new systems will give users up to a 53 percent performance boost over single-core Dell systems, he said. The new chips will run up to 2.8GHz and have up to 2MB of Level 2 cache.
Pricing for the servers starts at $2,448. They can come with Microsoft Corp.s Windows Server 2003 or Red Hat Inc.s Enterprise Linux operating system pre-installed.
Dual-core technology puts two processing units—or cores—onto a single piece of silicon, offering almost twice the chip performance in the same space.
In addition, the Round Rock, Texas, company is keeping a common system image—everything from the drivers to the firmware—for both its single- and dual-core servers, making it easier for users to deploy them in their current computing environment. Its also a common image across the servers.
"If you bought a [single-core] 2850 a month ago, [the new dual-core version] will have the same motherboard, the same system image," Hand said. "We designed the systems … to be able to drop the dual-cores in there without disruption to customers."
Hand said Dell also is offering a range of services—including help for customers in deploying dual-core technology in their data centers—around the new systems, and that Dells OpenManage software suite will support the new systems.
This is the latest jump by Dell into the dual-core arena, paralleling the release of chips by Intel armed with the technology. In July, Dell announced its first dual-core server, the PowerEdge SC430, which has the option of running on Intels dual-core Pentium D chip. In April, Dell said it was putting Intels dual-core Pentium 4 Extreme Edition chip into its Precision 380 workstation and Dimension XPS desktop.
Dells announcement comes the same day that Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. is releasing the latest Opteron processors—the 180, 280 and 880 models—that, at up to 2.4GHz, run faster than current Opterons, but within the same power envelope. It also comes two weeks after Sun Microsystems Inc. unveiled the first of its "Galaxy" servers powered by the faster Opteron chips.
Part of Suns launch included a 20 percent trade-in allowance aimed at Dell customers who buy a Sun Fire X4100 or X4200 server, which Sun says performs better and consumes less power and floor space than Dell systems but comes at a lower price. Sun, of Santa Clara, Calif., also made similar offers to IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co. customers, but Pradeep Parmar, product line manager for Suns Network Systems Group, said the best response has been from Dell customers. Dell is the only top-tier OEM not selling Opteron-based systems.
Suns Web site for the Dell promotion has registered "tens of thousands of hits [since the Sept. 12 launch], and some of those have resulted in sales as well," Parmar said.
Dells Hand declined to address the Sun promotion directly, saying only that Dell is "always focused on each customer … and in the end, most customers see the value we give them is enduring over the long haul."