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Dell last week announced the specs for its first server blades, which it plans to launch in its third quarter.

Most entrants in the emerging high-density blade server market, have launched with products featuring low power 700MHz Pentium III processors. Dell, however, has made its first foray into the segment by basing its PowerEdge 1655MC server on higher power 1.26GHz PIIIs.

The PowerEdge 1655MC accommodates up to six servers with two 1.26GHz Intel Pentium III processors in a single 5.25 inch (3U) enclosure, which means fewer servers packed into a single rack than competitive offerings from the likes of Compaq and RLX Technologies.

Dell plans to address this with servers based on Intel's recently introduced 800MHz dual-processor Pentium III Tualatin chips, CNET reports.

But that's some way down the line, and for now we'll have to content ourselves with the specs for Dell's first blade server.

The PowerEdge 1655MC has up to 2GB of memory, features ServerWorks' ServerSet LE Chipset with a 64-bit/66MHz PCI bus. It also includes two SCSI hard disk drives with integrated hardware-based RAID chips, an integrated management card and redundant Ethernet switches.

The technology reduces density by up to 50 per cent and cabling by more than 80 per cent, according to Dell. It is designed to simplify administration for applications such as server consolidation, thin client computing, and high-performance clustering.

Blades are a stepping stone towards Dell's goal of building 'brick' servers, which will feature multiple servers in each chassis, around which customers can build components, such as storage. 'Brick' servers will take advantage of emerging technologies, such as InfiniBand, to boost system performance and allow blade-based systems to handle enterprise applications. ®

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