Intels Madison Bandwagon Gets Crowded

Meanwhile chip-making rival AMD rolled out new versions of its 64-bit Opteron chip.

OEMs and software makers on Monday continued to climb aboard Intel Corp.s Madison bandwagon, while chip-making rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. rolled out new versions of its 64-bit Opteron chip.

Red Hat Inc. on Monday announced that availability of its Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system optimized for Intels new generation of its Itanium 2 processor, formally known as Itanium 2 6M, which Intel rolled out on Monday. Red Hat, of Raleigh, N.C., said both versions of its Enterprise Linux platform—AS, for data center and mission-critical servers, and WS, for technical workstations—support Madison.

Red Hat officials say the new chip can improve performance on its Linux platform by as much as 33 percent.

At the same time, server makers continue to join the ranks of Itanium 2 6M users. IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Computer Corp. and Unisys Corp. all have announced systems powered by the new chip.

SGI on Monday announced a slew of high-performance computing customers for the Altix 3000 systems armed with the Madison chip. The systems use either the 1.3GHz chip with 3MB of Level 3 cache, or the 1.5GHz version with 6MB of L3 cache, according to the Mountain View, Calif., company.

HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., is rolling out Madison-based systems in its new consolidated server line, called Integrity. John Miller, director of marketing for HPs business systems unit, said the Integrity line enables companies to streamline their operations and protect their investment because it enables enterprises to deploy one server with a Linux partition, a Windows partition and an HP-UX partition.

Before "today, you [couldnt] do Linux and Windows consolidation if you only had an 8-way server," Miller said. "There was not a significant return-on-investment/total-cost-of-ownership savings. Plus, Unix hasnt been deployed on the front end of many data centers … so enterprises couldnt consolidate their front-end on Unix."

Dell, of Round Rock, Texas, is offering its PowerEdge 3250 system with Madison, and Unisys, of Blue Bell, Pa., is unveiling its ES700/400, with up to 32 Itanium 2 6M chips. IBM announced the eServer x450 with four Itanium 2 6M chips, as well as the x445, which uses Intels newest 32-bit Xeon MP chip, codenamed Gallantin, which also was announced on Monday. The big thing about IBMs new Madison- and Gallatin-based systems is their ability to accept additional memory on the fly. This is possible in part because of the enhanced EXA chipset that IBM included in the systems, said officials with the Armonk, N.Y., company.