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Compaq bolsters server lineup

Monday, Compaq will unveil four new models based on Pentium Pro and Pentium II chips that include new technology for boosting overall system performance.

Compaq (CPQ) will beef up its server lineup on Monday with four new models based on Pentium Pro and Pentium II processors that include new technology for boosting overall system performance.

Compaq is continuing to lead the advance of Intel-based servers into the backrooms of corporate computer networks, until now the exclusive domain of Unix computers and mainframe-class machines, by working to eliminate some of the performance constraints of Intel-based machines.

Compaq will announce that it is using the "Highly Parallel System Architecture" technology for the first time in its servers. The computer maker has incorporated two independent PCI "buses"--a bus is a high-speed data path in a computer--to eliminate data bottlenecks between peripherals such as hard disk drives and the system's memory and processor.

The PCI technology, first introduced in June on the company's line of workstation PCs, will now be used on the ProLiant 5500, 3000, and 1600 series servers.

Other features offered by the new servers include PCI "hot plug" technology, which allows users to swap out drives, power supplies, and other parts while the server is still live.

In the first quarter of 1998, Compaq will offer the ProLiant Cluster Series F servers, which use Fibre channel technology for connecting servers together.

Fibre channel is a high-speed data transfer technology that Compaq will also use in new storage products as a way to transfer data between large clusters of hard drives and the server. In the Series F servers, the technology will be used to create a quick-response, intelligent backup system in case one of the servers, or one of its components, fails. Users, as a result, suffer far fewer network outages.

The 1600 and 3000, both of which are dual-processor capable, will ship with 64MB of memory and one 266-MHz or 300-MHz processor, respectively. The 1600 will cost $3,780 while the 3000 will cost $4,775.

The ProLiant 5500 is four-way capable and will ship with one 200-MHz Pentium Pro processor with 512KB of secondary "cache" memory and 128MB of memory for a base price of $8,470.

On Monday, Compaq will announce the departmental-level 1200 server with 233-MHz Pentium II processor and 32MB of memory will be priced at $2,780.

All new systems will come with built-in 10mbps/100mbps ethernet networking capabilities.