Dell Unveils Dual-Xeon Rack-Mounted Server

The PowerEdge 2650 can be packed with up to 6GB of memory and five hot-plug SCSI hard drives for total internal storage of 365GB.

Dell Computer Corp. on Monday announced the first rack-mounted server from a major manufacturer to feature dual Intel Xeon processors with hyperthreading technology, underscoring an ongoing push by major computer makers to pack more chips into more compact designs.

Hyperthreading technology featured in the new Xeon, code-named Prestonia, enables operating systems to view one processor as if it where two logical chips, boosting performance up to 30 percent and resulting in faster server response times.

Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM have announced plans to offer similar products in the near future. In addition, several smaller computer makers who led the push to market rack-mounted servers have also released dual-Prestonia systems, including Gigabyte Networking and RackSaver Inc.

Dells new PowerEdge 2650 is a 2U-chassis (3.5-inch-thick) system targeted for use as an e-mail, file/print server, or as part of a storage or database cluster.

The system can be packed with up to 6GB of memory and five hot-plug SCSI hard drives for total internal storage of 365GB.

Using the ServerWorks Grand Champion LE chip set, the server also features three PCI-X expansion slots and dual embedded PCI-X gigabit network interface cards, and has an optional embedded RAID with 128MB of battery-backed cache.

Remote management through a Web browser is also supported on the 2650. Users can choose from pre-installations of Microsoft Corp.s Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Advanced Server or Red Hat Linux. Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., is working with Dell to develop InfiniBand connections, officials said.

Prices for the PowerEdge 2650 start at $2,399 for a single, 2.2GHz Xeon configuration. A more robust system featuring two 2.2GHz Xeons, 512MB of RAM and two 18GB hard drives sells for $7,373.

Rack-mounted servers are designed to conserve space inside data centers by enabling systems to be stacked atop another in industry-standard 6-foot-tall racks. The most popular rack-mounted design is the 1U-chassis, a pizza-box shaped server only 1.75 inches thick.

Sales of rack-mounted servers surged 45 percent from 2000 to 2001, according to industry researcher International Data Corp. The move toward multiple-CPU servers is also increasing, with IDC forecasting that 64 percent of all rack-mounted servers shipped this year will be dual-CPU capable.