HP debuts Pentium II servers

Like most other servers using the Intel chip, the NetServer E45 is being targeted at small and medium-sized businesses.

Michael Kanellos
Michael Kanellos Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.
2 min read
Hewlett-Packard (HWP) has released its first Pentium II server. Like most other servers using the chip, the NetServer E45 is being targeted at small and medium-sized businesses.

The NetServer E45 contains a 233-MHz or 266-MHz Pentium II microprocessor with 512KB of L2 cache and Error Checking and Correcting (ECC) memory. Multiple configurations are available. The E45 will start at $2,217.

Although the Pentium II is Intel's premier microprocessor, most vendors are using it in their value-priced servers due to the Pentium II's limited capabilities in multiprocessing. Standard servers can only take advantage of two active Pentium IIs at once. By contrast, manufacturers can string up to four Pentium Pro processors together in a standard server designed for that processor. The greater number of processors that can be joined together, the more powerful the server becomes. As a result, the Pentium Pro has been more prevalent in high-end Intel server systems.

E series servers also come with management software that makes it easier for users, as well as resellers, to monitor server and network health, said Elaine Lennox, product line manager for HP. An auto alert function, for instance, provides a traffic light interface and gives users warnings about potential problems. Another tool allows resellers to take control of the server remotely, thus making it easier to provide repairs.

"Reliability is a problem for your dry cleaners too, but they are not going to pay $50,000 for multiprocessor, fault-tolerant servers," she said. "It's got to be a low-cost box."

Intel and a number of computer makers are currently working on configurations to accommodate eight processors at once. Compaq, in fact, recently released an four-processor enterprise-class server with a case designed to accept eight processors, once eight-way processing becomes feasible.

Standard designs for four- and eight-way Pentium II servers are expected next year. Intel executives have said that server sales will likely increase dramatically in the next few years, especially in the small business arena, as more institutions jump onto the Internet.

Concurrent with the E45, HP has also released a series of initiatives for resellers, including prepackaged training seminars, aimed at making the E45 more palatable to small organizations.