The LE2200 comes complete with one or two Pentium II processors running at 233 MHz or 266 MHz, with 32MB or more of error checking and correcting (ECC) memory. ECC is high-quality cache that mitigates data errors.
The servers will be built under NEC's new build-to-order program, thereby allowing customers to pick and choose their components and price points. At the low end, a 233-MHz single-processor server with a 4GB hard drive and 32MB of ECC memory costs approximately $2,999. A 266-MHz single-processor server with 512MB of ECC memory and a 9GB hard drive goes for $4,599. A dual-processor version will be priced at $5,698.
Like most other manufacturers, NEC is not yet using Intel's Pentium II for its high-end servers. Currently, most manufacturers are still using the Pentium Pro in most server lines. This is because the Pentium Pro, as a server chip, has been around much longer than the Pentium II, and manufacturers can offer designs that support up to four processors with the Pentium Pro. The Pentium II is currently limited to supporting only two processors.
"It's not been the processor of choice simply because it's not been upgradeable to four processors," said John Young, director of product marketing and business operations at Compaq, in a recent interview with NEWS.COM. Compaq unveiled a single-processor Pentium II server late last month.
But eventually Pentium II technology will replace the Pentium Pro. Technology to build more powerful Pentium II servers is on the way, sources say, with eight-way Pentium IIs due toward the end of 1998.
Most major vendors did not announce plans for Pentium II servers until this summer, when Intel said it would release a version incorporating ECC. Since the announcement, a number of vendors have committed to building one- and two-processor Pentium II servers.
Many large corporate customers demand that servers, which form the backbone of companywide networks, come with ECC memory to ensure data integrity. For example, a server or workstation computer used at a financial trading firm handling million- or billion-dollar transactions needs to ensure that a program comes up with the correct forecast. A memory glitch could potentially throw off an important prediction.
The LE2200 servers will be available toward the end of the month from NEC's direct program or through resellers.