HP to Launch Opteron-Powered Servers

By putting AMD's 64-bit Opteron processor in some of its ProLiant servers, HP becomes the third major OEM to use the chip.

Hewlett-Packard Co. executives on Tuesday will announce that they are going to use Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s 64-bit Opteron processor in some of their ProLiant servers, according to a source close to both companies.

HP has scheduled a press conference for Tuesday morning in Houston to discuss the expansion of its industry-standard server line, which includes x86 systems currently powered by Intel Corp.s 32-bit Xeon and Pentium processors.

An HP spokesperson would not comment on the details of the announcements. A spokesman with AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., also declined to comment.

Reports about HPs interest in the Opteron chip first surfaced late last month. However, though officials with the Palo Alto, Calif., company would not confirm the reports, they also did not deny them. They said several times that there is customer demand for a 64-bit x86 solution and that, while they remain committed to standardizing HPs high-end systems on Intels 64-bit Itanium chip and its low-end and midrange systems on the x86 architecture, they were keeping their options open and assessing all current technology.

The idea drew a mixed reaction from industry observers. Some saw it as a swipe at Intel, its partner in developing the Itanium architecture. Others felt the move made sense, particularly given the effort HP is making to get its enterprise products group running smoothly.

However, it would fit in well with what is becoming a rapidly changing landscape in the 64-bit computing space. A year ago at this time, AMD was two months away from launching Opteron, and was without public support for the chip from any of the top-tier systems makers.

Next page: Differences between Opteron and Itanium.