As previously reported, the OpenPower 720 has features that are usually seen in higher-end systems. The 64-bit Power5 platform is scalable, IBM said.
Initially, the OpenPower 720 will come with either 1.5GHz or 1.65GHz Power5 microprocessors. These systems will be available in a four-way rack or a tower set-up with maximum memory of 64GB. They support SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and Red Hat's Enterprise Linux AS 3 Update 3.
The low-cost machine is expected to compete with Sun Microsystems' lower-end Unix servers based on the UltraSparc processor and with servers from a number of manufacturers that use x86 chips such as Intel's Xeon and Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron.
Previously, IBM's Power servers were bracketed with higher-end systems based on Sun's UltraSparc chip or Intel's Itanium processor.
The OpenPower 720 will begin shipping in the United States on Sept. 24, priced at $5,000 and up, IBM said. The OpenPower virtualization option, a component of IBM's Virtualization Engine for managing workloads, will go on sale in the last quarter of this year at a starting price of $2,000.
In addition, Big Blue said it plans to release a two-way version of the OpenPower system in the first half of 2005.