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IBM has added a bit more muscle to a midrange mainstay in its Unix server line.

The p655 server will now ship as an 8 processor box packed with 1.7GHz Power4+ processors. IBM previously only offered the p655 as an 8-way with 1.5GHz Power4+ chips. Overall, customers should see a 20 percent performance improvement with the new kit even though the price of the p655 will stay the same.

IBM has also tweaked the memory capacity of the p655. With a new DC Power Converter Assembly, customers can install up to four 8GB or 16GB memory cards. This doubles overall capacity to 64GB.

The p655 comes with most of the bells and whistles of IBM's high-end Unix kit. Customers can cluster up to 64 of the boxes together as part of the Cluster 1600 package. The system can also be chopped into four dynamic logical partitions (LPARs) with the latest version of AIX.

IBM's Unix server business has been on a fairly good run over the last year. Big Blue has managed to edge closer to leaders HP and Sun Microsystems in overall market share. The performance of the Power4 processor is a big reason for this success.

Expect some last performance upgrades with the Power4+-based systems as IBM prepares to release servers based on the Power5 processor in coming months.

Customers looking for the revamped p655 will have to wait until February 6 to pick up the kit. ®

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