IBM launched three RS/6000 mid-range servers last week, using its performance-boosting copper chip technology it claimed will challenge rival Sun Microsystems in its core Web server market.
The M80, H80 and F80 all outperform competing systems from Sun at a lower entry-list price, according to IBM.
The company claimed the H80 and M80 are the world's fastest six-way and eight-way Web servers respectively.
"We've proved the value of copper chip technology with the overwhelming success of the RS/6000 S80 at the high end of the Web server market," said Rod Adkins, general manager at IBM's Web server unit. "Now we've copper-fortified our entire RS/6000 server line top to bottom and are targeting the mid range - the heart of the Web server market."
Copper microprocessors, a technology, pioneered by IBM researchers, are smaller, denser, faster and cooler than those based on aluminium.
According to IBM, the chips are more reliable and also cheaper to manufacture, enabling the creation of higher-performance systems at lower cost.
The servers run AIX and will be offered to both dot com companies and traditional corporate data centres. IBM is planning an aggressive assault aimed at catching up with Sun in what Louis Gerstner, IBM chief executive, called the "sweet spot" of the server market.
Phil Dawson, senior research analyst at Meta Group, said copper technology makes the PowerPC chip the second most viable chip technology after Intel's.
IBM is revamping its AS/400 and RS/6000 ranges with the chips. According to Dawson, Sun needs to refresh its range if it does not want its mid-range market share to become eroded.
Compaq was scheduled to launch its Wildfire Alpha servers yesterday to target IBM's and Sun's high-end range.
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