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IBM Unleashes Its Hurricane

It has taken three years and $100 million, but IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) has finally unveiled its new X3 architecture, which it claims will boost performance on the companys Intel-based servers (see IBM Intros X3 Architecture).

The move is the latest stage in IBM’s strategy of deploying high-end, mainframe-style features on lower-end servers. Last year the hardware giant set about bulking up its xSeries server range with mainframe technologies and, more recently, followed this up with the launch of five new Intel-based servers (see IBM Transforms Intel-Server Market and IBM Unveils Intel-Based Servers).

At the core of X3 is the XA-64e chipset, originally code-named Hurricane, which contains an integrated processor and a memory controller. These work in conjunction with the Intel processors to boost performance, in particular reducing latency, according to IBM.

Another key element of the X3 architecture is its ability to support both 32-bit and 64-bit applications. Increasingly, users are looking to reap the performance benefits offered by 64-bit technology. Most server processors currently handle data in 32-bit chunks, but 64-bit processors from the likes of Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) mean that users can now potentially double their throughput.

But migrating from one technology to another can be a headache for data center managers, hence the support for both 32-bit and 64-bit in the X3 architecture.

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