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The server runs Linux on IBM's Power4 RISC (reduced instruction set computing) processors.
While IBM admitted that Linux's primary place in the short term will remain on low-end servers using Intel chips, the company hoped it could help spur Linux adoption by combining the OS with its high-end, best-performing chips, said Karl Freund, vice-president of pSeries server product management at IBM.
"This is about the beginning of developing a market. The first step is to have a product out there with the full weight and support of IBM behind it."
Linux has become a popular choice for users trying to run Web servers or e-mail servers on cheap Intel-based hardware. IBM, however, is looking to push Linux toward handling higher-end business software by pairing it with the well-regarded Power4 chips that sit inside multimillion-dollar servers.
IBM has already made some steps in this direction by making it possible to run Linux partitions on top of AIX in its RISC servers.
The company expected the first adopters of the Linux p630 to be software makers and resellers that can begin tuning the system for end users. IBM has prepared a number of its own applications such as the DB2 database and WebSphere software to run on the new server.
The Linux version of the p630 will be priced at $15,477 (£9,877) with a 1GHz Power4 chip, two 36Gbyte disk drives and 2Gbytes of memory, compared with $16,977 for the same server running AIX.