Hardware Vendors Rally Around AMD With New Dual-Core Servers

IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems will all unveil servers leveraging the new chips, sparking AMD in its battle to claim more market share from leader Intel.

April 21, 2005

3 Min Read
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As Advanced Micro Devices readies the introduction of its first dual-core processors on Thursday, hardware vendors are rallying their first servers based on the new chips.

IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems all plan Thursday to unveil new products running on dual-core chips from AMD, Sunnyvale, Calif. The new processors contain two CPUs that operate simultaneously, allowing a single processor to work as two. This, in turn, makes a two-way server perform as a four-way server, a four-way server perform as an eight-way server, and so on.

On Thursday, IBM plans to unveil dual-core support for its existing AMD-based eServer and Intellistation products. The IBM e326 server is already dual-core ready, and the new processors can be swapped out for the current ones once they are available, said Suan Davi, Intellistation product manager for IBM.

IBM also Thursday will unveil the APro 6217 workstation, which can be ordered next week through IBM and its channel next week. Pricing starts at $3,200. Both the new dual-core workstation and eServer will be generally available at the end of June, Davi said. Pricing for the e326 server will be available when it ships.

IBM has not officially unveiled plans to ship more AMD-based products than the ones it already has, but sources close to the company said the vendor also is readying a line of dual-core, AMD-based blade servers for release by the summer.HP also plans to refresh its current line of AMD-based servers with dual-core processors. Thursday the vendor will launch new versions of its four-way HP ProLiant DL585 and BL45p blade server that take advantage of the dual-core 800 series Opteron chips, said Mark Hudson, vice president of marketing for HP's Enterprise Server and Storage division.

HP additionally will update its line of ProLiant low-end rack-mount and blade servers that support AMD's 200 series dual-core chips once those are made available in the summer, he said.

Sun, which depends solely on AMD as its third-party chip provider, also plans to refresh its Sun Fire v40z and v20z servers with dual-core processors. Thursday, the vendor plans to unveil the new AMD-based dual-core v40z, which will be available in May. Sun also will release a dual-core v20z later this year. Intel and AMD have been battling it out since last year in getting to market with dual-core processors. In a surprise announcement two weeks ago, Intel brought its dual-core chips to the table ahead of AMD, even though most expected AMD would be first to unveil its dual-core processors.

John Freres, president of Meridian IT Solutions, Schaumburg, Ill., said despite the fact that Intel continues to hold a substantial market-share lead over AMD, the "game is not over yet."

"I think that AMD has got a great story," Freres said. "I think they're very much nipping hard at Intel's heels. You haven't seen a lot of innovation out of Intel of late. I think AMD is doing exactly what they need to do to penetrate and get the market share away from Intel."If recent financial results are any indication, AMD has a a tough road ahead. Intel beat analyst expectations for its first quarter and turned a profit of 34 cents per share, results it posted Tuesday. AMD, however, lost money and missed analyst forecasts for its most recent quarter.

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