Dell introduces AMD-based 2P, 4P servers

San Francisco (CA) - Dell today rolled out its first servers based on AMD's Opteron processors. The rack server Power Edge 6950 and the blade server Power Edge SC1435 promise more performance and power efficiency than Intel's Irwindale and Tulsa processors, which are based on the firm's aging Netburst architecture.

Dell is closing a gap to competitors, foremost Hewlett-Packard, by complementing its server product line with AMD's Opteron processors. The processors still offer unchallenged performance and power characteristics in the 4P server space - a segment that Dell served only with Intel's Xeon MP processors (Irwindale and Tulsa cores), while the overall market saw quickly increasing demand for AMD's Opteron processors.

A key product will be the rack-mounted Power Edge 6950 server, which can house up to four Opteron 8000-series processors and will offer Dell's sales staff a first opportunity to lure enterprise customers away from competing HP and Sun offerings. The server can be equipped with up to four processors: Choices range from 95 watt, 2.0 GHz 8212 models to 120 watt, 2.8 GHz 8220 SE CPUs. Prices start at around $6500 and top out at just under $30,000 for a fully equipped system.

Opteron processors are also available for Dell's blade servers: However, in the 2P Power Edge SC1435, the chips may have a more difficult position, mainly due to the availability of similar products that can be bought with Intel's Xeon 5100 (Woodcrest core) processors that, according to Intel, offer more performance and consume less power than Opteron processors. The SC1435 starts at about $1500 and can be decked out with two 120 watt, 2.8 GHz 2200 SE Opterons and a $27,000 32 GB memory upgrade for a total price of more than $31,000. If power is a concern, Dell offers the option to choose slower, but less hungry 68 watt 2212 HE Opteron processors.