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450-MHz PII servers, workstations debut

Along with a slew of desktops PCs, vendors released new servers and workstations based around Intel's new 450-MHz Pentium II processor.

Along with a slew of desktops, vendors released new servers and workstations based around the 450-MHz Pentium II processor introduced today from Intel.

Although the higher-end and pricier Xeon processor is becoming the primary processor for Intel-based servers and workstations, most vendors are using the faster versions of the lower-cost Pentium II for entry level systems in these markets.

Price remains an important consideration. The 450-MHz Pentium II announced today contains 512K of cache memory and sells for $669 in volume. A 400-MHz Xeon with 512K of cache, meanwhile, sells for $1,164 in volume.

The chief difference between the two chips is that the Xeon's cache memory, a data reservoir for the processor, is faster. A 450-MHz Xeon is due around October. With 512K of cache, the 450-MHz Xeon will sell for over $1,000, say sources, while the 450-MHz Pentium II, albeit with a slower 512K cache, will be cut to $562.

IBM announced 450-MHz Pentium II versions of its Netfinity 5500 and Netfinity 3000 servers, as well as series of Intellistation workstations that use the chip.

The Netfinity 5500 is a high-end corporate "enterprise" server built for larger organizations. It can handle up to two processors and comes with a minimum of 128MB of memory. The 3000, meanwhile, is designed for workgroups. It accommodates one processor and can hold between 32MB and 384MB of memory.

The board used in these systems will also allow customers to upgrade to a Xeon processor.

IBM also said that the new chip is available in both its entry E Pro and standard M Pro workstation lines. Prices start at $2,938.

Hewlett-Packard announced today that its NetServer will now feature Pentium II 450-MHz processors in its LC3 and LH3 products. The NetServer LC 3 will start at $2,780 and the LH 3 system will start at $5,850. HP did not release workstations, but will in a few weeks, said sources.

Dell will offer the 450-MHz Pentium II in its PowerEdge 2300 server for small and medium-sized businesses, starting at $2,966. The 450-MHz Pentium II will be also included in the Precision 410 workstation.

Gateway announced that its ALR 7200 and 8200 server lines would feature the 450-MHz chip. The ALR 7200 is Gateway's entry-level server, and it typically includes 128 MB of memory and a 4GB hard drive for $3,799. The ALR 8200 is a mid-size enterprise server with 128MB of memory, a 4GB hard drive for $5,199.

Gateway's E-5200 workstation, meanwhile, starts at $2,999 and comes with 64MB of memory and a 6.4GB hard drive. NEC Computer Systems also announced that it has begun to sell a version of its PowerMate 9000 workstation with a 450-MHz Pentium II. (Intel is an investor in CNET: The Computer Network.)