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Darrell Dunn
Darrell Dunn

Dual-Core Choices

AMD and Dell introduce chips and systems that give IT managers more dual-core computing choices

The x86 dual-core processor market got a boost last week with Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s second wave of Opteron processors and Dell's first dual-core Xeon systems.

AMD added three models to its dual-core Opteron line, increasing the upper-end clock speed to 2.6 GHz from 2.4 GHz. The additions include the 880 for up to eight-way servers, the 280 for dual-processor workstations and servers, and the 180 for single-pro- cessor workstations and servers. Sun Microsystems last month unveiled plans to use the 2.4-GHz Opteron processors in its Galaxy servers. Hewlett-Packard and IBM also are expected to use new Opterons.

"If you look at the number of platforms being brought to market from HP, IBM, and Sun, it's providing a lot of choice for consumers and IT managers to be able to more fully deploy Opteron in the different form factors they require for their enterprises," says Randy Allen, corporate VP of the server products division at AMD.

More Options
New systems from AMD and Dell include:

AMD 880 for eight-way servers

AMD 280 for workstations and servers

AMD 180 for single-processor workstations and servers

Dell PowerEdge blade servers will use dual-core Xeon processors

Dell Precision workstations include dual-core Xeon processors
The 880 is priced at $2,649 each in quantities of 1,000, and the 280 at $1,299. Both processors are available now. The 180 will be available at the end of the month at $799.

Independent software developers continue to increase their support for Opteron; 300 software developers have provided 1,300 applications certified to run on Opteron, Allen says.

Dell last week said that its dual-socket PowerEdge 1850, 2800, 2850, and 1855 blade servers as well as its Precision 470 and 670 workstations will incorporate dual-core Intel processors. The systems are said to be the first dual-core Xeon systems on the market. They will deliver up to 52% greater performance than existing single-core Xeon systems, Jeff Clarke, senior VP of the Dell product group, said in statement.

Dell is taking orders for the servers, with general availability later this month. Starting prices for the four PowerEdge models range from $2,448 to $2,748. The Precision 470 workstation starts at $2,479 and the Precision 670 at $2,779.

For Dell, the ability to add dual-core Xeon systems to its portfolio will enable it to reinvigorate a product line that has seen little performance improvement in the past year. Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun have been bolstering their server lines with dual-core Opteron-based systems since last May.

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