Acer Builds Out Server Stable

New rack-mount server targets businesses with demands for high bandwidth.

Acer America Corp. is continuing the expansion of its product line with a new rack-mount server aimed at businesses with demands for high bandwidth, including ISPs, application service providers and enterprises.

The Altos R701, unveiled last week, is 2U (3.5 inches) high and is powered by one or two 2.8GHz Xeon processors. The Intel Corp. chips provide application-enhancing Hyper-Threading technology and up to 512KB of Level 2 cache; 12GB of double-data-rate, 266MHz RAM; and six 64-bit PCI-X slots, said officials at Acer, in San Jose, Calif.

The server also includes a dual-channel Gigabit Ethernet LAN card, optional SCSI RAID support and a four-fan cooling system that enables it to keep cool regardless of the task its working on, the officials said. It will support several versions of Windows, NetWare, Red Hat Inc.s Red Hat Linux 8.0 and UnixWare.

The server is available now priced starting at $2,898.

The R701 is part of Acers push to expand its offerings beyond PCs and laptops and re-establish itself among a broader set of commercial customers, particularly small and midsize businesses, with server and storage offerings. The initiative mirrors similar ones being made by such companies as Gateway Inc. and MPC Computers LLC. Acer in May released its first rack-mount server, the 1U (1.75-inch) Altos R300. The company is also expecting to roll out two storage devices in the second quarter of next year.

Packeteer Inc., an application management solutions company, is testing a few R300 systems. Neil Furman, systems administrator at the Cupertino, Calif., company, said that the testing has been under way for less than a month but that the systems have performed well so far, "though they havent been stressed all that much yet."

"We wanted to see what they were like compared to what we were using previously," Furman said.

Packeteer uses Dell Inc. systems for its enterprise applications.

"Basically what I brought [Acer] in for is not to use on our corporate network but in a test labs situation, where theyre going to be configured and reconfigured on a regular basis," Furman said.

Despite its server and storage development efforts, Acer has not forgotten its roots. At Comdex, the company will roll out a thin-and-light notebook with advanced multimedia capabilities. The wide-screen Aspire 2000 will include Intels Centrino mobile platform technology; a 15.4-inch LCD display; and Aspire Arcade, software that enables users to perform such tasks as edit video through an intuitive user interface.

The notebook comes with an ATI Technologies Inc. Mobility Radeon 9200 graphics chip set, up to 2GB of memory, three Universal Serial Bus 2.0 ports and a Serial ATA/100 removable hard drive as large as 60GB. Pricing will start at about $1,849.