Dell has begun shipping its latest four-processor system based on Itanium 2 chips.
The PowerEdge 7250 is a 4U system designed to support as much as 32Gbytes of memory. It will be priced starting at $12,499 (£6,779) in a single-processor configuration, and will ship with a processor offering clock speeds between 1.3GHz and 1.5GHz, Dell said.
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Although Dell ships only two Itanium-based systems, the company said it sees a growing niche for Itanium, particularly for database users looking to get around the memory limitations of 32-bit systems, which can physically support only 4Gbytes of memory.
"It's a matter of market evolution more than anything," said Tim Golden, Dell's director of PowerEdge server marketing. "A couple of years ago there was a single operating system that was supporting Itanium."
With more application support and with Microsoft, Red Hat and Novell's SuSE Linux now supporting the processor, Itanium is becoming an attractive alternative for customers using Risc (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) architectures such as UltraSparc and PowerPC.
"For those customers, they are looking to migrate to an Intel, standards-based system for cost reasons primarily, but they view 32-bit systems as a step backward," Golden said
Dell's PowerEdge 7250 is available immediately. In a four-processor configuration, with 2Gbytes of memory and a single 36Gbyte hard drive, the systems are priced starting at $22,099.
Robert McMillan writes for IDG News Service