HP Throws Weight Behind AMD

The company upgrades its AMD-based systems with the latest dual-core Opterons, which offer a jump in frequency from 2.4GHz to 2.6GHz.

Hewlett-Packards line of ProLiant servers running on Advanced Micro Devices Opteron chips is getting a speed bump.

The Palo Alto, Calif., computer maker is upgrading all of its AMD-based systems with the latest dual-core Opterons, which offer a jump in frequency from 2.4GHz to 2.6GHz. The new chips, unveiled by AMD earlier this month, are designed to improve performance while staying within the 95-watt power envelope of their predecessors. HP is announcing the upgraded systems on March 15 and will start shipping them March 20.

"We will flow that [speed increase] through the entire line," said Steve Cumings, group manager of HPs ProLiant Opteron systems business.

In addition, HP is announcing the general availability of its HP Compaq t5720 thin client, which runs AMDs Geode NX 1500 processor. HPs previous thin client, the t5710, was powered by the Efficeon chip from Transmeta, which last year exited the chip-making business.

Cumings said HP has seen sales of its Opteron-based ProLiants increase, and demand for them is migrating from high-performance computing environments to general purpose workloads. With that comes demand for better price-performance, he said.

The new Opteron 185, 285 and 885 models—for single-, dual- and multiprocessor servers—offers that bump in performance. At the same time, HP is dropping prices on these systems by 5 to 10 percent, Cumings said.

The new chips are being put into HPs ProLiant DL145 G2, DL385 and DL585 rack systems, as well as the BL25p, BL35p and BL45p blade servers. The BL35p also will be offered with a 68-watt version of the chip, he said.

The move comes a few months before AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., rolls out its upcoming Rev F line of dual-core Opterons, which will offer such features as DDR2 memory support and on-chip virtualization. HP has said it will support those new chips as well when theyre released in the third quarter.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about AMDs next round of server processors.

However, Cumings said it usually takes time for businesses to test and qualify new products, and that in the meantime the most recently released Opterons will give users a performance boost.

HP and Sun Microsystems are the two top-tier OEMs with an extensive Opteron product line. Cumings said sales of HPs Opteron systems continue to climb as their use expands deeper into the enterprise.

On the client side, the introduction of the AMD-based t5720 thin client will bolster HPs Consolidated Client Infrastructure program, which includes thin clients as well as PC blade offerings.

Along with the AMD chip, the thin client also can fit on the desktop or mounted with an HP Quick Release device on the wall or under the desk. It also can be used with a selection of HP monitors, stands or wall mounts.

The t5720 also offers an optional PCI expansion slot for additional devices and a USB slot on the front for connectivity to peripherals.

The 1GHz AMD Geode NX 1500 chip "really gets up to desktop speed, something thin clients could not get up to before," said Keith Martin, product marketing manager for HPs thin client business.

Thin clients are desktop devices that are connected to back-end servers, which hold critical components such as the processor, memory and hard drive. Thin clients and PC blades are designed for easier manageability and greater security than traditional desktop PCs.

AMD officials also now say that the company intends to deliver a new line of dual-core Opteron chips in the third quarter, updating its official guidance on the timing of the release of its so-called Rev F Opterons. Those new chips will offer greater performance but fit within the same 95-watt power envelope as AMDs current chips, officials say.

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