The systems are smaller configurations of its existing eight-processor x440 server. They will be available with two or four processors and use Intel's 2.4GHz Xeon processor, which is less expensive than the Xeon MP chips used in the larger system. This makes the systems more affordable for small and medium-sized businesses.
Users can, however, upgrade their servers by moving to the Xeon MP chips if they see a need for more horsepower, said Jay Bretzmann, director of xSeries server product marketing at IBM.
For example, a user can purchase a four-way x440 system now and then expand the server to eight processors at a later date by switching the chips for Xeon MP processors and without needing to purchase a new chassis, Bretzmann said. Companies with growing businesses or infrastructure providers might take advantage of the feature after owning their system for some time, he said.
"It's not something you would do in the short term," Bretzmann said.
The new x440s will take up 4U (7 inches) of rack space and cost from $20,499 (£13,425) including two processors and 2Gbytes of memory but no hard disk or operating system. IBM will support Microsoft's Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, Red Hat's Linux Advanced Server and SuSE Linux's Linux 8.0 operating systems.