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Dell makes room for midrange Itanium system

Puts the price back in price/performance

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Despite the lackluster sales that still haunt Intel's Itanium processor, Dell has decided to up its commitment to the chip, rolling out a new four processor 64-bit server.

The PowerEdge 7250 is the second Itanium box to join Dell's server line. The four processor box stands as the big brother to the two processor PowerEdge 3250 released many moons ago. Dell tends to be unenthusiastic about anything larger than a two-way, so it's not surprising to see the company wait so long to roll out a midrange Itanium box.

In a statement, Dell pegged the starting price of the PowerEdge 7250 at $12,499. Dell's web site, however, tells a different story with the introductory price coming in at $21,416, including some support. That price includes two 1.3GHz Itanium chips, 2GB of memory and a 36GB hard drive. It's hard to imagine a more stripped down server, so one can only guess what the $12,499 box is missing.

A four processor system with the faster 1.5GHz chips, 12GB of memory and three 36GB hard drives will cost $52,364. That's closer to the average selling price of an Itanium box. In the first quarter, just 6,281 Itanium servers were sold for a total of $282m, putting the average price at $45,000, according to Gartner.

Dell picked an interesting canned quotation to explain the release of what is certainly not a volume server in the PowerEdge 7250.

"The PowerEdge 7250 is the highest-performing server in our portfolio," said Paul Gottsegen, vice president of worldwide marketing in Dell's Product Group. "It's specifically designed for customers that require the ultimate performance and scalability -- and these customers know better than to pay the price of proprietary platforms."

The only flaw with this logic being that a Sun V440 with four 1.28GHz UltraSPARC IIIi processors, 16GB of memory and four 73GB hard drives starts at $26,395 - half the price of Dell's system. ®

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