The upgrade to the p690, which comes in a series of configurations -- 8-, 16-, 24-, and 32-way -- puts 1.9GHz Power4+ processors in the server and doubles the maximum amount of memory to a full terabyte. Other enhancements include faster memory speeds -- from the earlier 567MHz to 633MHz -- and 128MB of Level 3 cache.
Existing users equipped with p690 systems with the 1.1GHz or 1.3GHz Power 4 chips, or the 1.5GHz or 1.7GHz Power 4+, can also upgrade to the 1.9GHz processor, said IBM.
To make room for the new top end in the pSeries line, IBM's also dropping prices of older models. The p690 running 1.7GHz Power4+ processors, formerly IBM's top-speed server, has been reduced by 12 to 15 percent, said IBM, while prices for the 1.5GHz Power4+ configuration has been cut by 12 to 16 percent.
Servers in the p650 line-up have also been slightly trimmed.
Additionally, IBM said it would sell Linux across the entire pSeries line, including the new, faster p690. Until now, IBM has been offering Linux only on lower-end pSeries servers, such as the p615, p630, and p650. Now IBM will sell either SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 or Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS 3 on all pSeries servers.
IBM won't actually install Linux on the pSeries; instead, Red Hat and SuSE will deliver the software to customers themselves.