Infrastructure briefs

Server news from IBM, desktop wireless news from Hitachi.

IBM next month will debut a Unix server that will let users cram more than 100 of its most powerful processors into one system.

IBM will release the new p655 server and make the system a central piece in the company's hardware strategy targeted at the high-performance computing market. Customers can link four-processor and eight-processor models of the p655 to form a 128-processor system that fits in one rack, the company says.

Armed with IBM's Power4 processor, the p655 will challenge similar systems built with chips from Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Sun. The p655 uses much of the same technology found in IBM's high-end p690 server, including 1.1-GHz and 1.3-GHz Power4 chips and the latest version of the AIX operating system. However, unlike with the much larger p690, users can connect numerous p655s via IBM's SP Switch interconnect to form a cluster or group of servers that act as one system.

IBM is expected to release another version of the p655 next year that uses new Power4+ chips that run at 1.7 GHz. A four-processor p655 with 1.3-GHz chips and 4G bytes of memory will start at $73,485.

Hitachi last week launched a range of desktop computers that include built-in IEEE 802.11a wireless LAN modems. The 802.11a standard supports data transmission at rates up to 54M bit/sec and makes use of spectrum in the 5-GHz band, an increase in speed and frequency from the more common 802.11b standard that supports up to 11M bit/sec transmission at 2.4 GHz.

Among a range of 14 desktop and notebook machines, three of the desktop models come with built-in 802.11a support. They differ in the processor, which is either a 2.4-GHz or 2-GHz Pentium 4 or a 1.7-GHz Celeron, and each has 128M bytes of memory and a 40G-byte hard disk drive.

Prices range from $2,025 to $1,555. The machines also include support for USB 2.0, which supports data transmission at 480M bit/sec per second.

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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