Sun has unveiled an upgraded version of its sub-$1,000 server, adding a CD-Rom drive and the enterprise edition of its iPlanet Web Server software.
The single-processor server has a base price of $995 (£692), the same as the original model that Sun shipped early last year.
The move by Sun followed HP's introduction of a low-end Unix server that also starts at $995. HP said the system is priced more than half the price of its previous entry-level boxes.
There are some notable differences between the rival rack-mounted systems. Sun's server, formerly called the Netra X1 and now renamed the Sun Fire V100, comes with a 40GB disc drive as standard in addition to the CD-Rom drive. Sun officials said the base system is ready to install and use.
HP's rp2430 doesn't include a disk drive as a standard feature, and the company said it expects typical configurations to cost about $3,500 (£2,435). But a dual-processor model of the server offers greater expansion capabilities than Sun does.
Companies needing an application server for distributed business units and branch offices are a target market for the low-end Unix machines.