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HP Completes Its Pa-Risc Road Map With Final Processor Upgrade

Hewlett-Packard recently introduced the last upgrade for its PA-RISC proprietary processor, effectively ending the life of a technology that had been driving the vendor's high-end servers since the mid-1980s.

Late last month, HP introduced the final processor speed increase for its 9000 series servers, said Randy Meyer, director of strategy, technology and education at HP. The new PA-8900 processor, which provides a 16 percent performance boost over previous technology, completes HP's PA-RISC road map.

The new processors are shipping in HP 9000 servers priced between $4,300 and $113,600 and are available now. HP will support servers running PA-RISC chips until 2013 but will stop selling the latest HP 9000 systems in 2008, said Brian Cox, director of server marketing at the Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor.

HP was the first hardware vendor to bring out a RISC chip, releasing it in 1986, and PA-RISC—which powered HP Unix-based servers for high-end application processing—served the vendor well for years, Cox said.

However, HP saw a need for processors that went beyond the performance and reliability of RISC chips and so entered an alliance with Intel in 1994 to develop new processor technology, which later became known as Itanium.

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