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IBM this month will sweeten the low-end of its Unix server line with a new two-processor box and a new cluster system.

The p5 510 goes up against the basic Unix boxes from the likes of Sun Microsystems and HP. It's a 2U, two-processor system that can handle anything from web serving to serious database loads. The box, which starts shipping on Feb. 18, will be available with IBM's latest Power5 chip.

At this time, IBM is touting both an Express and standard model of the p5 510. The Express system ships with a single 1.5GHz Power5 chip right now but will be available with two Power5s, in April. The Express gear tends to come in cheaper and is billed as a better option for running Linux. IBM supports both SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 for Power and Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS for Power.

The standard p5 510 ships with 1.65GHz Power5 chips - each with 36MB of Level 3 cache. It can support up to 32GB of memory and has dual 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, dual Ultra320 SCSI controllers, one external SCSI port, hot-swap fans, two USB ports and two HMC ports.

IBM is also talking up its p5 575 box that is designed to be part of a server cluster. The system takes up just 2U of rack space but can hold 8 single-core Power5 chips each running at 1.9GHz.

IBM is currently offering to help customer links together 16 of these servers to create a 128-processor cluster. By the end of April, it plans to up this configuration in a big way, making it possible to link 128 of the systems to create a stunning 1,024-processor cluster.

Each of the Power5 chips has 36MB of Level 3 cache and is surrounded by 8 memory DIMMs. IBM supports both AIX and Linux on the system. ®

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