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HP Ships F8-based Servers

Moving to reassert the former Compaq's role as the leading vendor of eight-way, industry-standard servers, Hewlett Packard Co. this week shipped its long-awaited industry standard eight-processor servers based on the new F8 chipsets.

HP/Compaq has gone nearly a year without an eight-way chipset to support the Xeon MP processors that Intel shipped last March. In that time, IBM moved in with its modular eServer xSeries 440 systems that support between two and 16 of the Xeon MP processors.

HP answered this week with the new ProLiant DL740 and a second-generation of the ProLiant DL760. Both servers sport the new F8 chipset, a follow-on to Intel's Pentium III Xeon-era Profusion chipset. HP and Intel jointly developed F8. Beyond the Xeon MP support, the chipset's enhancements include combined PCI-X input/output technology, Gigabit Ethernet and Ultra3 SCSI.

While HP's eight-ways trail IBM's in availability, the ProLiants do come in plenty of time for the April 24 launch of Windows Server 2003. The timing puts HP in position to benefit from a server OS launch that should generate one of the larger upticks in server purchasing since Windows 2000 shipped in February 2000.

Windows Server 2003 will also be the first server OS from Microsoft capable of supporting Hyper-Threading, a technology in the Xeon MP that allows a processor to behave as two logical processors for a performance gain of up to 30 percent. HP's systems will now allow ProLiant eight-way customers to realize those gains.

Both new servers also feature hot-plug RAID memory, which uses dual in-line memory modules to provide fault tolerance. The servers support hot replace and hot add for memory modules.

With four 1.5-GHz Xeon MP processors and 2 GB of RAM, the HP ProLiant DL740 starts at $25,000 and the HP ProLiant DL760 starts at $28,000.

HP also announced that in a December run of the Transaction Processing Performance Council's TPC-C benchmark for OLTP, the DL760 achieved 115,025 transactions per minute (tpmC). That $884,000 test system was anchored by a DL760 with eight 2.0-GHz Xeon MP processors; Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition; and SQL Server 2000, Enterprise Edition.

The number is a few thousand tpmC better than IBM's best published TPC-C run with a similarly configured xSeries 440.

About the Author

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

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