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AMD signs Acer to hit Intel in the Duomos

Flashes racks, towers in Milan

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Acer has set itself the target of grabbing 10 per cent of the enterprise server market after embracing AMD's make-or-break Opteron 6100 architecture today.

The Taiwanese-owned, Italian-controlled vendor unveiled the AMD-loaded lineup, which spans from towers to rack-mounted HPC kit, at a press conference in Milan today. They follow the Intel-powered kit it revealed in December - with much of the branding drifting across between the two lines.

The vendor said it expected four per cent of its revenues to come from servers if it makes its target. It will target North America in the second half of the year.

Acer has plastered the kit with the Gateway brand it picked up a couple of years ago, arguably a puzzling choice as under its previous ownership Gateway never really conquered Europe and was not seen as a serious corporate choice on its home turf in the US.

The Opteron 6100s AMD unveiled this morning are being pitched as eliminating the 4P tax, which AMD argues Intel has imposed on buyers since multi-core chips hit the mass market. The chip range tops out at $1,395.

Gateway's GR 385 and GR 585 rack servers will use the Opteron 6100s, packing up to two parts in the former and four in the latter, giving a maximum of 48 cores and 512GB of memory in the 585.

The vendor will pitch its 2U GW2000h w GW175h and GW2000ht w GW175ht at HPC apps. They will pack two 6000s per node. The first configuration will pack four nodes and be pitched at mid-range and HPC apps. The newly-added HTs will offer two nodes, with a GPU per node, and be pitched at SMBs and graphics-intensive applications.

A range of blade servers, the GB2x285 F1 and GB685 F1, will be pitched at large enterprises and HPC. The 285 will carry two two-socket nodes, with the 685 carrying four CPUs per blade.

At the bottom of the range, the The GT range of uni processor tower servers will be pitched at SMBs when it actually ships later this year. It will feature AMD's existing Opteron 4000 chips.

While Gateway was famous for selling direct, Acer said it would continue to push the brand towards indirect channels.

AMD claims the debut of the 6100 - and the 16 core chips coming next year - will remove the 4P tax, but it was hard to gauge exactly what this means as Acer was vague about pricing today.

Gianluca Degliesposti, global server business development manager, said it would announce pricing to the channel in the next few weeks.

But, he said, he expected the price difference between a fully loaded four-way Intel server and its AMD equivalent would be substantial, with AMD-based machines potentially coming in 40 to 50 per cent cheaper.

However, while AMD may be striving to remove the premium on four-way computing, its massive ramp-up in accessible memory may mean customers simply find themselves paying a memory tax instead. ®

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