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Desktops

IBM releases Opteron blade servers

It's the second server model with the chip in a product line that places more emphasis on rival processors from Intel.

IBM has begun selling blade servers using Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron processor, the second server model with the chip in a product line that places more emphasis on rival processors from Intel.

IBM announced the Opteron blades on stage during AMD's dual-core Opteron launch in April and has been promoting the systems on its Web site for weeks. However, Big Blue said Wednesday that the systems are now available as part of its BladeCenter system.

An entry-level LS20 costs $2,259 for a model with a single 2GHz Opteron 248 and 1GB of memory, IBM said. With AMD's 2GHz dual-core Opteron 270, the price rises to $3,649. The systems can accommodate two Opterons.

Blades are thin systems that slide side-by-side into a chassis that supplies shared infrastructure such as power supplies and network connections. The blade server market is growing faster than the overall server market, with IBM in the lead.

IBM was the first major computer maker to endorse Opteron, but it's been less aggressive with the chips than Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard. Dell has had extensive discussions about Opteron with AMD but remains wedded to Intel.

Sun and HP market Opteron as a good choice for mainstream computing, but IBM has positioned its Opteron products as best suited for high-performance technical computing. Indeed, IBM said its Cluster 1350 product, which links numerous systems into a single supercomputer, is available with the LS20.

For mainstream computing with x86 processors, IBM steers customers toward models with Intel's Xeon processor, such as the four-processor x366 or the 32-processor x460.