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200-MHz Pentium Pro servers delayed

Despite big price cuts, Pentium Pro servers will not ship until September.

Despite fresh announcements on shipments and price cuts, Pentium Pro servers based on a long-awaited Intel processor will not ship until September.

Server vendors Data General and Hewlett-Packard have announced new mutltiprocessor Pentium Pro servers and price cuts, respectively, but systems with the server-specific version of the 200-MHz Pentium Pro processor won't take place until September, according to Data General.

HP also said it will not begin shipments of its 200-MHz Pentium Pro multiprocessor servers until "later," but would not specify a date.

At the same time, HP announced price cuts ranging up to 34 percent for both its Pentium and Pentium Pro servers. One model of the NetServer 6/166 LX Pro series, for example, will plummet 34 percent from $34,130 to $22,660 while another will fall 28 percent from $36,900 to $25,900. HP price cuts on its Pentium servers will reach as high as 29 percent.

Data General's Aviion servers are available immediately. Pricing for the 166-MHz Pentium Pro based AV 4900 and AV 5900 servers starts at $34,995. Pricing for the 200-MHz AV 4900 and AV 5900 servers, which will be available within 60 days, starts at $39,995.

The 200-MHz Pentium Pro processor with 512K of integrated cache is the highest-priced Intel processor because of its top-of-the-line speed and large cache, and it has been eagerly awaited by some corporate users. The large cache is necessary for multiprocessor Pentium Pro servers, which are just beginning to ship from a number of top-tier vendors.

"This [delay] is not so much processor-related as cache-related," said Dean McCarron, an analyst at Mercury Research of Scottsdale, Arizona, referring to the fact that the newest and most advanced production technologies are needed for the cache on this chip.

The chip was slated to ship in volume in June. Intel contends that it is pleased with the production yields so far and said lower volumes are typical "at the beginning of a product ramp."

This week, both Data General and HP said they will begin shipping, in quantity, systems with the 512K cache version of the slower 166-MHz Pentium Pro processor. Both the HP and Data General multiprocessor servers use an Intel motherboard--the main circuit board in a computer--and can integrate up to four Pentium Pro processors, a first for an Intel-based design shipping in commercial quantities.

Related stories:
Intel to cut prices sooner, not later
A bad day for U.S. chip makers