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Intel updates server building blocks

The chipmaker is set to announce a raft of motherboards, system components and kits for companies that build their own machines.

Intel has readied a raft of new server parts for companies that build their own machines, the chipmaker will announce Wednesday.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company will release a host of motherboards, system components and kits that allow manufacturers to easily build their own Intel-based computers. These components and kits are used often in "white box" machines--computers typically built by small computer companies or larger specialists that integrate computers with specific software.

Although Intel's core business is manufacturing CPUs, selling these higher-level products permits Intel to influence future product directions while diversifying its revenue. Many of the products coming Wednesday are geared to allow white box makers to use Intel's new Pentium III-S chip, which uses less power and has more high-speed cache memory than its predecessors.

The division that makes server motherboards has been quieter of late. Intel was forced to cancel several products in the wake of bugs found in the 820 and 840 chipsets, the chips that join the CPU to the rest of the computer and control many key subsystems.

The new Intel components use the LE3 chipset from Broadcom subsidiary ServerWorks, Intel spokesman Otto Pijpker said.

Among the products Intel will announce:

• A two-processor motherboard for use in thin, rack-mounted servers. The system, for Pentium III-S chips, can be used in systems 1.75 inches (1U) or 3.5 inches (2U) thick.

• A two-processor motherboard for higher-powered computers with as many as six PCI slots.

• A 1U and a 2U server chassis.

• A low-power gigabit Ethernet card.

• A disk controller card that can control two arrays of Ultra160 SCSI hard drives. The card has 256MB of memory capacity to speed data transfer.