IBM is to begin shipping its first workstation powered by Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron microprocessor in May.
The IntelliStation A Pro workstation will be based on the Opteron Model 244, 246 and 248 processors, at 1.8GHz, 2.0GHz and 2.2GHz, respectively, and will be available in dual-processor and single-processor configurations.
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It will be the first Opteron workstation from a major vendor to ship in North America, said Sarang Ghatpande, an analyst with research company DH Brown Associates.
Last December, Fujitsu Siemens Computers unveiled a dual-processor Opteron workstation called the Celsius V810, which is not sold in the US.
By being quick to market with the 64-bit Opteron system, IBM may be able to sell the workstation outside of the computer-aided design market, where most of its workstations traditionally have been sold, Ghatpande said.
The workstation should appeal to customers doing digital content creation, visualisation, and seismic analysis, who want 64-bit systems that are less expensive than Risc (reduced instruction set computer) offerings.
Ghatpande expected other hardware companies to follow suit with Opteron workstations of their own.
A single-processor A Pro with a 1.8GHz processor, a NVidia Corp. graphics card and 1Gbyte of memory will start at $2,619. It will support the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of SuSE Linux, as well as the 32-bit version of Microsoft Windows XP Professional.
Windows 64-bit support will follow when Microsoft ships its version of Windows for the Opteron processor, which is expected later this year.
Robert McMillan writes for IDG News Service