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HP Explores 64-bit x86, Unveils PA-8800 Servers

Hewlett-Packard rolled out a new line of servers Monday (Feb. 9) based on its dual-core 64-bit PA-8800 processor. As part of the launch, the company reaffirmed it is well along in its planned transition of all its high-end server lines to the 64-bit Itanium CPU it co-develops with Intel Corp.

Vish Mulchand, head of marketing for HP's high-end servers, said the company expects to support 64-bit processors across its existing low-end x86 servers. He would not say whether the company will choose the AMD Opteron or an expected 64-bit Pentium line Intel may demonstrate at its developer conference next week (Feb 17-19).

Some analysts expect Intel's next major Pentium CPU, called Tejas and expected to ship in about a year, will have 64-bit capabilities. Analysts have said the 64-bit x86 could kill sales of high-end 64-bit RISC chips like Intel's Itanium, but Mulchand disagreed.

"64-bit capabilities are just one aspect of a system. Our high-end servers are already 64-bit. Nintendo has a 64-bit video game console," said Mulchand. "HP is exploring [bringing 64-bit CPUs to its x86 servers], and we will make an announcement about that soon," he added.

The advent of 64-bit x86 chips is not changing HP's plans to standardize its high-end servers on Itanium. HP already ships a line of Integrity systems based on Itanium including versions of its top-of-the-line 128-CPU Superdome.

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