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IBM admits Madison exists, beefs up Xeon line

What's the x455?

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IBM continues to give Itanic a feeble second billing in its Intel server line.

On a day when other vendors celebrated the arrival of Madison, Big Blue went out of its way to play up some Xeon speed-bumps. The new x445 high-end Xeon-based system stole the show in IBM's press release with the Madison-based x450 being relegated to a passing reference.

No worries, we have done the work for IBM and have some special Itanic news to share down below.

As expected, the x445 has arrived as a 4U high system that holds eight Xeon chips. IBM will sell a 16 processor version of the server starting July 1 and follow with a 32 processor version later this year. The system runs on the second iteration of IBM's EXA (Enterprise X Architecture) chipset.

IBM also said the new Xeon MP chips released by Intel on Monday will be available in its smaller x360, x205, x225 and x255 servers.

Now to the x450 and its successor the x455. IBM doesn't want you to know about the latter just yet. Too bad.

If the x450 sounds familiar, it's because IBM announced the system for the first time in May. It took IBM months and months to get the server out the door with the second generation Itanic chips known as McKinley.

Well, after a few weeks on sale, IBM is already upgrading the four processor box with Madison chips.

IBM does not seem to know exactlly what it wants to do with Itanic. Instead of doing the usual media barrage, IBM last week appeared to leak its Itanic news to a couple of select, reputable news outlets. No need to be overshadowed by HP's Monday release of a far more complete Itanium server line.

Power4 still receives top billing at the company in the 64bit market and with good reason. IBM ships billions in Power4/AIX gear. It did not ship a single Itanic system last quarter, according to IDC.

While the marketeers waxed eloquent about Xeon, they could spare but a few bullet points for Itanic in the IBM press release.

We are told the x450 will start shipping with Madisons on July 18. IBM will then follow this with a two processor system - the x382 - in August.

Come November, IBM will start shipping the more impressive x455, The Register has learned. This system will hold 4-16 Madison chips and give IBM something a little more competitive against HP.

We hear that IBM has lost a few deals to its rival by being behind on Itanic, but November should do the trick to keep it in the game.®

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