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NEC server looks ahead to Slot 2

Next week, NEC will unveil a PC server that can accommodate up to six processors and be upgraded to Intel's Slot 2 Pentium II technology.

Next week, NEC plans to unveil a PC server that can accommodate up to six processors and be upgraded to Intel's Slot 2 Pentium II when the forthcoming technology is released.

The HX6100 will be the first system to support six processors that can also be upgraded to the Slot 2 Pentium II chip, according to NEC. Currently, standard server designs based on the Intel chip architecture can be scaled to four processors at most, though special designs from companies like Corollary take this to eight. Pentium II-based servers top out at two processors.

Slot 2 refers to the packaging and the interface that will be part and parcel of Pentium II chips for workstations and servers. Machines with Slot 2 chips will be capable of using up to eight processors at once, for added computing power.

Slot 2 will succeed Slot 1, the sleek, black casing that is synonymous with the look and feel of the Pentium--it's the package that's featured in most of Intel's TV ads.

The $22,565 HX6100 comes with two 200-MHz Pentium Pro chips, 128MB of memory, and a 4GB hard drive. Designed for "mission-critical" applications such as database management or e-commerce, the system can add four more chips to increase performance.

The lower-end HX4100 will also be released next week, for a price of $7,872. The midrange enterprise application server comes configured with a single 200-MHz Pentium Pro and features 128MB of memory and a 4GB hard drive. The HX4100 is also upgradeable to the Slot 2 technology.

Intel has essentially terminated its Pentium Pro architecture in anticipation of the newer, faster Slot 2 Pentium II technology. By the second half of this year, Intel expects to release the proprietary design, which many server manufacturers are already preparing to feature in their new systems.