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HP to unveil flock of new Intel servers

The company plans to revamp much of its Intel server line as the chip giant's new Xeon server chips are set to arrive.

Hewlett-Packard will revamp much of its Intel server line Tuesday with the arrival of Intel's new Xeon server chips.

The six new servers will range from a beefed-up desktop machine with a single Pentium 4 to a four-processor system with the new Xeon chips and high-end features, said Jean-Jacques Ozil, worldwide marketing manager for volume systems. "We are basically refreshing the entire product line," Ozil said, though changes to rack-mounted servers will come later.

The servers are critical to HP's efforts to compete against Compaq Computer, Dell and IBM--unless its merger with Compaq goes ahead.

Intel server revenue was bleak in HP's most recent quarter . "We still struggle in the low-end IA-32 (Intel) server arena," Fiorina said at the time. "HP has been losing momentum and money in our (Intel server) business. Our efforts here need to be beefed up quickly."

Analysts say that Compaq's ProLiant Intel servers, which lead in market share, would likely displace HP's NetServers if the merger succeeds.

Except the lowest-end model, all the new servers use chipsets from Broadcom subsidiary ServerWorks, which specializes in making the crucial chips that join CPUs with memory and input-output channels.

Although Intel has begun selling its E7500 Plumas chipset for two-processor servers, HP said it doesn't plan to use it.

The new servers coming Tuesday include the following, according to Gary Erickson, director of product marketing for volume systems:

•  The tc2110, which has an average price of $1,459. The system includes a 1.7GHz Pentium 4 CPU. HP waited until release of Intel's 845 chipset that lets computer makers avoid Rambus memory.

•  The tc3100, with an average price of $1,999, can handle up to two 1.26GHz "Tualatin" Pentium III CPUs, which come with more high-speed "cache" memory than most Pentium III chips. The server has options for a remote management card and drives that can be switched without rebooting the system.

•  The tc4100 is similar to the tc3100, but has an average price of $4,359 and includes more higher-end features standard.

•  The tc6100, with an average price of $7,599, is also a two-CPU machine, but it supports Xeon CPUs. Xeons differ from regular Pentium 4 chips because they have "hyper-threading" features that enable a single CPU to work somewhat like two. The system uses the ServerWorks GC-HE chipset that supports use of the high-speed PCI-X input-output technology.

•  The tc7100, with an average price of $12,559, accommodates up to four Xeon MP chips, code-named "Foster MP" and is scheduled to be introduced this week at the CeBit trade show in Hanover, Germany. The 8.75-inch-thick system uses the ServerWorks GC-HE chipset and can be mounted in a rack.

•  The rc7100 is similar to the tc7100 but is designed to be mounted only in rack, where space is at a premium. At 5.25 inches thick, it's got less room to hold disk drives than the tc7100. A typical system costs $13,899, HP said.