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HP injects blade PCs with fresh Athlons

The un-PC dream lives

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HP has delivered a much needed refresh to its blade PC product line, upgrading the hardware and graphics performance of the systems.

HP released its last batch of Consolidated Client Infrastructure (CCI) gear way back in Nov. of 2005. The big transition taking place then was a shift from Transmeta-based systems to Athlon-based systems.

With its new BladeSystem bc2000 and bc2500 blade PCs, HP has stuck with the Athlon chips. The former ships with a single-core Athlon 64 2100+ chip, 80GB of SATA disk and 1GB of memory for $1,000 (if you agree to buy 10 systems). The bc2500 ships with a dual-core Athlon 64 X2 3000+ chip, 80GB of SATA disk and 1GB of memory for $1,500 - again in relative volume.

The systems account for half of HP's take on untraditional PCs. The company also sells a wide range of thin clients.

One of the main grumbles surrounding such products has been their inability to mimic the performance - nay, user experience - of a regular desktop. With that in mind, HP will ship its very own Remote Graphics software as part of PC Session Allocation Manager 2.0.

HP has included the Remote Graphics software with its blade workstations in the past. The software is based on a codec crafted by HP and Nasa that helps heavier workloads such as graphics streaming make their way from a blade PC out to a client terminal. HP sees the protocol as a complement to the popular remote desktop protocol (RDP), which also ships on HP's blade PCs.

While HP's core blade server line relies on the 10U c-Class chassis, the blade PCs come with their own 3U chassis, which can hold up to 20 blades.

If you're not convinced by the blade PC concept, we won't hold it against you. Numerous vendors have been banging on about thin clients and blade PCs for years.

The likes of Wyse, Citrix, HP, ClearCube, Sun Microsystems and IBM tell us that the technology will really take off now because of improvements in processing power and bandwidth. So there you have it. ®

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