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Intel Launches Itanium: OEMs Unveil Systems

Intel Corp. formally launched the 64-bit era in Wintel computing Tuesday with the availability of its Itanium processors.

Itanium is Intel's first generation 64-bit processor. The first group of Itanium processors come at clock speeds of 733 MHz and 800 MHz. They feature 2 MB or 4 MB of L3 cache. Prices range from $1,177 to $4,227 in 1,000-unit quantities.

Since Microsoft Corp. narrowed the Windows NT/Windows 2000 platform to Intel architecture processors only, the launch Tuesday represents the first time a 64-bit platform is available for the operating system. Intel and Microsoft trail the entry of Unix/RISC vendors to the 64-bit realm by several years.

Microsoft disclosed plans last week to release 64-bit server and workstation operating systems for the Itanium-based systems.

Also supporting Itanium systems right away are two Unix flavors -- Hewlett-Packard Co.'s HP-UX 11i v1.5 and IBM Corp.'s AIX-5L -- and Linux.

HP, IBM and Dell Computer Corp. introduced Itanium-based servers and workstations on Tuesday. The systems, some of which will be available in late June, are among 35 Itanium models from 25 computer manufacturers that Intel says will be offered this year. Unisys Corp. also confirmed that its ES7000 systems, which have been shipping for more than a year with 32-bit processors, can be field upgraded to 64-bit processors.

HP's product list included the biggest surprise. Like IBM and Dell, HP introduced workstations and four-processor servers (Dell previewed its server last week). But HP also rolled out a 16-processor server, the HP Server rx9610. HP's other systems are the HP Workstation i2000 with up to two processors and the four-way HP Server rx4610.

Dell unveiled its Dell Precision Workstation 730, which comes with one 733 MHz Itanium processor, 1 GB RAM and an 18 GB SCSI drive for about $8,000. Last week, Dell introduced its PowerEdge 7150, a four-processor Itanium server.

IBM also announced a pair of systems: the four-way eServer x380 and the Intellistation Z Pro workstation.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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