HP will today add several servers based on the new Intel Xeon extended memory 64-bit technology (EM64T) known as 'Nocona' to its dual-processor ProLiant range.
Nocona allows users to run either 32-bit or 64-bit operating systems on the servers while improving the memory address space. This means businesses will be able to move memory-starved 32-bit applications and memory-intensive applications onto the servers.
Four new standard servers, including two towers and two dense rack-based models, are available now. They are the ProLiant DL380 G4, the DL360 G4, the ML370 G4 and the ML35 G4.
The servers offer a choice of input-output technology, while processor speeds range from 3GHz to 3.6GHz. Prices range from $1,529 to $3,449.
A fifth server, the Nocona-based ProLiant Blade BL20p G3, will be available from 1 September. Pricing for this model is not yet available.
Iain Stephen, HP EMEA industry standard server director, dismissed reports that problems with the supporting Intel 'Lindenhurst' chip, which handles workloads, will prevent users from deploying these new servers with PCI Express adaptor cards.
"[The problem] tends to be caused by multi-function adaptors," he said.
"The set of adaptors we're offering have been tested and meet our requirements for supported configurations, but there is a potential issue with the number of PCI-Express adaptors that come to market."
He said that most users would continue to use the older PCI-X technology until the latest card's performance is proven. The servers launched today have backwards compatibility with PCI-X or can be fitted with an additional tray for PCI-Express.
With the increasing sophistication of 64-bit chips from Intel and AMD businesses will begin to move away from the old x86 processors, predicted John Enck, vice president of server and directory strategies at analyst firm Gartner.
"This is the first step that leads us to 64-bit computing across the x86 line. In 12 to 18 months virtually all x86 servers being shipped will be 64-bit capable," he said.
And Phil Dawson of Meta Group commented: "I think you will see [EM64T-based servers] adopted, but not optimised yet. This is more evolution than revolution."
But Dawson expressed doubts over whether Xeon 64 and Opteron could be "over-optimised", particularly as the server vendors' sales propositions are based on compatibility. "It will be at the really detailed compiler-type level that it will get very interesting," he said.
Acer, Dell, Fujitsu Siemens, Hitachi and IBM are all planning models based on the new processors, according to Intel.
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