IBM to reveal Opteron server

SOMERS, N.Y.--IBM on Tuesday will give supercomputing aficionados a glimpse of an Opteron chip-based system that is geared for high-performance tasks. The system, to be unveiled at the ClusterWorld conference in San Jose, Calif., is a dual-processor, rack-mounted server measuring 1.75 inches thick, an IBM representative said. It is expected to ship in the second half of 2003. The machine, which IBM first discussed in April, is designed to be clustered in large numbers to form a single, powerful computational engine.

Clustered systems are increasingly popular with customers that have intense computing requirements, such as pharmaceutical designers, automakers and banks. Intel's Xeon processor is widely used for these systems, but rival Advanced Micro Devices is working to find a place for its new Opteron chip as well. "For those segments that have already embraced AMD, the enthusiasm for Opteron is very, very high," said Dave Turek, leader of IBM's new "Deep Computing" team, pointing to government laboratories in particular. "We have substantial pull from customers."

AMD's Opteron processor runs the same software as do Intel's Xeon and Pentium products, but it also has 64-bit extensions that allow it to speed some types of calculations and to accommodate more memory. To take advantage of those extensions, software must be rebuilt for the chip--an Opteron version of Linux from SuSE is available, for example.

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News source: ZDNet

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