New Chips are Boon to Workstations

Now, more than ever, there are numerous powerful and efficient x86 hardware platforms from which to choose.

This year is an exciting one for x86 workstation users because now, more than ever, there are numerous powerful and efficient hardware platforms from which to choose.

The release of Intel Corp.s Xeon EM64T (Extended Memory 64 Technology) processors and chip sets has spurred vendors including IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co. to roll out robust workstations. Not to be outdone, Sun Microsystems Inc. has released new dual-Opteron workstations.

IBM refreshed its IntelliStation workstation line with the addition of a dual-Xeon EM64T box. Announced at LinuxWorld earlier this month, the IntelliStation Z Pro supports up to two 3.6GHz Xeon EM64T processors, DDR2 (double-data-rate 2) memory and the latest graphics accelerators from Nvidia Corp.

HP in June announced three workstation models based on the new Intel Xeon EM64T chips: the xw4200, the xw6200 and the dual-processor xw8200.

The IBM and HP workstations use the same processors and chip sets, but the high-end HP xw8200 has eight DIMM (dual in-line memory module) slots compared with the Z Pros six. IBMs dual-processor IntelliStation Z Pro is priced starting at $2,169, while the HP xw8200 starts at $2,076.

Suns commitment to providing fast and powerful x86 systems is demonstrated with the release of its new Opteron-based Sun Fire servers and Java Workstation line.


Click here to read eWEEK Labs review of the Sun Fire V40z server.

The Java Workstation W2100z, priced starting at $4,695, is a workhorse that supports two Opteron 250 processors, eight DIMM slots and high-end Nvidia graphics. The Java Workstation W1100z includes a single Opteron 200 processor and starts at $1,995.

The delay of Microsoft Corp.s 64-bit Windows platform gives Linux a leg up as the 64-bit operating system of choice for new Opteron- and Intel Xeon EM64T-based workstations.

IBM and HP ship their new workstations with Red Hat Inc.s Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS 3.0, which supports the 64-bit platform, as well as with Windows XP Professional. HP, in conjunction with Microsoft, is also offering its workstation customers the opportunity to preview Windows XP 64-Bit Edition in a beta customer preview program.

The Sun Java Workstations support Windows XP Professional, Solaris 9 for the x86 platform and Java Desktop System 2.0.

Customers will have to wait for the 64-bit version of Solaris 9 for x86 until sometime this fall.


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