NEC will begin to ship blade servers based on Intel's Itanium 2 microprocessor in September.
The 10U Express5800/1020Ba Blade system will house as many as nine ultra-thin blade servers, each of which will be capable of housing two processors, 24Gbytes of memory and two SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) hard drives. The blades will also ship with an Infiniband adaptor from Topspin Communications.
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NEC elected to use Intel's 1.6GHz Madison processors instead of the low-voltage Deerfield chips that Intel has designed for high-density servers, which means that the Express5800/1020Ba will use more power - a full chassis will require over five kilowatts of electricity - but will also provide faster performance, according to NEC.
"A pair of Deerfield chips [requires] 110 watts, and a pair of the Madison 1.6's is 198," said Scott Schweitzer, the product manager for NEC's Itanium server family.
"We feel that you're losing quite a bit of performance to save on that power and heat. The value proposition is just not there," he said.
The Itanium blades will use a different chassis from NEC's existing Xeon-based blade products.
An Express5800/1020Ba chassis with nine minimally configured blade servers will be priced starting at $79,000 (£42,980). A two-processor blade with 2Gbytes of memory will list for approximately $8,000
Robert McMillan writes for IDG News Service