Feeds

IBM beefs System x with latest Intel, AMD chips

BladeCenters revved too

High performance access to file storage

IBM's high-end System x line has been updated with the faster x64 processors from both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. IBM has also updated the Opteron processors used in its BladeCenter blade servers as well.

The "Dunnington" Xeon 7400 series chips were launched last September, sporting four-core and six-core variants aimed at four-socket and larger servers. While it always takes server makers some time to qualify new chips on their machines, for whatever reason, IBM took its time getting the Dunnington chips into is System x boxes.

Considering that Big Blue tends to focus on the high-end of the x64 server space, this might have been a contributing factor in the 32 per cent revenue decline IBM posted in the fourth quarter for the combined System x and BladeCenter designs. IBM has moved with a little more spring in its step to get the quad-core "Shanghai" Opterons from AMD into its System x and BladeCenter machines.

The Shanghai chips debuted last November and were updated at the end of January with low-voltage Opteron HE parts and a higher-speed Opteron SE part.

IBM's high-end x3950 M2 server can now use Intel's fastest Dunnington Xeon MP chip, the six-core X7460 chip with 9 MB of L2 cache and 16 MB of L3 cache on the chip running at 2.66 GHz. The x3950 M2 is based on four-socket motherboards. Up to 16 sockets, for a total of 96 cores, can be glued together using IBM's EX4 chipset. IBM will make this faster Xeon MP chip available in the x39650 on March 10. On that same day, the smaller four-socket x3850 M2 server will be available using the quad-core Dunnington E7420 processor running at 2.13 GHz. This chip has 6 MB of L2 cache and 8 MB of L3 cache.

The System x3755 quad-socket server will also be available on March 6 with AMD's standard quad-core Shanghai processors, which run at between 2.4 GHz and 2.7 GHz. The faster Opteron SE and lower-powered Opteron HE parts are not yet available for the x3755, but if you really wanted them, IBM would almost certainly sell them on a special bid basis until it has them formally certified in the boxes.

The quad-core Opteron HE chips in the Shanghai generation are, however, going to be available on March 9 for the company's two-socket LS22 and four-socket LS42 blade servers for its BladeCenter chassis. IBM is shipping the 2.3 GHz Opteron 2376 HE in the LS22 blade and either the 2.2 GHz Opteron 8374 HE or 2.3 GHz Opteron 8376 HE in the LS42 blade.

IBM is also shipping 8 GB DDR2 main memory DIMMs for these blades as well to double up the memory density alongside the doubling up of processing capacity compared to the existing dual-core Opteron HE chips.

While it is hard to say why IBM's System x and BladeCenter sales slumped in the third quarter and then plummeted in the second quarter, one other factor aside from the lack of Dunnington chips and the impending Shanghai chips was the looming "Nehalem" processors from Intel, which are expected to launch before the end of March.

With the Nehalems offering twice the processor performance and somewhere between three and four times the memory bandwidth of current two-socket Xeon machines, this was probably as big a factor as the economic meltdown. HP's ProLiant server line took a similar hit in the fiscal 2009 first quarter ended January 31, with sales down 22.3 per cent to $2.32bn. IBM swooned further, but HP didn't escape market realities either. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES
Or helium filling either, according to reports
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
USA opposes 'Schengen cloud' Eurocentric routing plan
All routes should transit America, apparently
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.