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IBM continues to thrive in a resurgent server market, outpacing all its major rivals in growth of units shipped.

Preliminary third quarter numbers from Gartner show the server market swelling 20.8 percent year-on-year on 1.37 million units shipped. This marks the third consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. One and two processor servers are the hottest kit on the market, as customers remain reluctant to purchase more expensive gear.

"Although overall server demand is increasing, most of the activity is in lower-priced one- and two-way IA (Intel) server systems, thereby limiting vendor revenue growth," Gartner said in a research note. "There are signs, however, of gradually increasing revenue growth in several of the major regions, especially the United States. and Asia/Pacific.

"There are also signs that the industry is in a renewal mode, replacing end-of-lifeWindows NT systems with more advanced one- and two-way servers, which run the latest operating systems with faster CPUs."

As has been the trend of late, IBM dominated rivals in the quarter. IBM saw worldwide shipments increase 36.5 percent to 220,083 systems. Dell was also ahead of the market average with 28.2 percent growth and 276,350 units shipped. Overall market leader HP matched the average with 21.2 percent growth and 408,290 boxes shipped. Sun was the lone major vendor to see its shipments decline, falling 2.9 percent to 59,692 units.

The sales figures for Intel-based servers reconfirmed IBM's strength in the quarter. IBM's sales surged 40.3 percent, while HP and Dell grew respectively 21.6 percent and 28.2 percent. Fujitsu Siemens grabbed the fourth spot in Intel server sales with solid 41.2 percent growth.

One missing vendor on the Intel-based server list was Sun. The company did not make the top ten despite introducing new Intel systems. LangChao Electronics moved 7,509 Intel-based servers in the quarter, placing it in tenth place. Sun's sales fell somewhere below these figures.

Gartner did not break out RISC, Itanium or Opteron sales in the preliminary figures. ®

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