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Dell announces first quad-core servers

Servers based on Intel's quad-core Xeon available beginning early 2007; Dell also announces new AMD Opteron system.

Dell on Tuesday launched its much-anticipated range of servers and desktops based on Intel's quad-core Xeon processor.

The company also announced a new system based on the dual-core AMD Opteron processor and a host of other new products and services.

The new quad-core servers are based on existing Dell models. The Dell PowerEdge 1900, 1950, 2950 and 2900 all include quad-core Xeon processors, as do the SC1430 and 1955 PowerEdge blade servers.

Even though Intel won't formally unveil its quad-core chips until next week, Dell's new quad-core servers and workstations are available immediately. The PowerEdge 1950 and 2900 will cost $1,599 in their base configurations, with the quad-core Xeon 5300 series processors, while the 2950 will cost $1,699. The SC1430 is a tower model that starts at $1,099, while the 1955 blade servers start at $1,799.

According to Dell, when equipped with quad-core, the new systems "rival the performance of dual-core, four-socket systems" and have up to 63 percent greater performance and up to 40 percent better performance "per watt."

The Dell Precision 690 and 490 workstations can also be configured with the quad-core Xeon processors. The Precision 390 workstation will support the Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad-processor, the company said. (Click here for a review of the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700.)

The 390 costs $2,213 with the Core 2 Extreme quad-core processors, formerly known as Kentsfield. The 690 and 490 use the quad-core Xeon processors, and cost $2,399 and $2,149, respectively. All are available immediately.

Eric Velfre, director of enterprise marketing for Dell, said that quad core gave Dell customers an "even more compelling promise."

Quad-core "will become the mainstream technology in the market," Velfre said. "This is not a niche market."

The Dell PowerEdge 6950 now incorporates all AMD dual-core Opteron processors. It is a dual-core, four-socket system and will offer a 20 percent reduction in power consumption over current servers in the range. It is available immediately, Dell said at an announcement in Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday.

Colin Barker of ZDNet UK reported from London. CNET News.com's Tom Krazit contributed to this report.