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IBM pre- announces AMD Opteron 246

Pledges Opteron-based workstations too

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IBM's Opteron-based eServer 325 will power the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology's new Linux-based supercomputing cluster - set to be the world's third most powerful supercomputer.

The system will comprise 1058 dual-processor 1U rack-mounted eServer 325s. Each server is based on a pair of AMD Opteron 200-series CPUs, including the Opteron 246, IBM said.

Since AMD has yet to launch that processor officially - it's expected to do so next week - IBM has effectively pre-announced the new part. Whoops.

Anyway, put all these Opterons together and you have a system capable of performing more than 11,000,000,000,000 (11 trillion) calculations per second, enough to propel its straight to number three in the world's most powerful supercomputer chart, according to IBM. It's also a trillion calculations - thereabouts - more than China's Dawning Opteron-based supercomputer will deliver.

The NIAIST will hook the beast up to its broader computing grid and use its power to probe the deepest questions surrounding life sciences, nanotechnology, super conductors, fuel cells and, indeed, grid computing itself.

The system will run SuSE Linux.

The eServer 325 marks IBM's first foray into Opteron-based hardware, and is a significant win for AMD, which is desperate for tier-one server vendors to support its 64-bit chip.

IBM today built on that foundation by announcing that its will ship an Opteron workstation next year. The eServer 325 itself will be available on 17 October, though limited volumes will be sent to customers a month or so ahead of that date. Prices start at $2919. ®

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