IBM unveils its next generation of mainframe computers at an event in San Francisco later today.
The z990 - alias T-Rex - is the first model in the line-up and includes a processor upgrade and support for a larger number of logical partitions than IBM's existing z900 model. It will, initially, ship with 32 processors, but 48- and 64-processor systems are planned for the end of this year and 2004 respectively.
IBM is expected to announce new performance numbers for the mainframe as part of an effort to convince industry sceptics that the mainframe remains relevant.
Its recent success with Linux on the mainframe - which IBM claimed accounted for 17% of 2002 mainframe revenues - has given it the impetus to promote the big iron for new workloads, said Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff.
Other analysts said T-Rex could be crucial for IBM as the company is expected to target about half of its 3,000 customer-strong z800 and z900 installed base. Total mainframe sales made up about $3bn of IBM's $81bn in revenue for 2002.