IBM server breaks $1,000 price barrier

ITworld.com |  Hardware

Combatting computer makers are shifting the battle from the consumer PC market to servers for small businesses, as IBM announced Thursday that it had released a server priced under $1,000 for small and medium-sized companies.

IBM priced its eServer x200 at $970. At starting pricing it uses an Intel Corp. Celeron 667Mhz microprocessor but can be equipped with a Pentium III. The x200 comes with IBM's Netfinity Director, which allows customers to remotely manage and deploy server configurations for mission-critical applications. It also comes with hard disk predictive failure analysis.

"Small businesses have been relegated to buying 'white box' servers," said Jim Gargan, IBM's director of strategy and product marketing for eServer, referring to computers built and sold at commodity cost by little-known companies. "The point of the announcement we're making is that customers don't have to purchase white boxes -- they can have big business brand support. They get the same level of support as the big businesses."

The server is designed for rack mounting and has IDE (Integrated Development Environment) support integrated for tape drive and RAID (Redundant Arrays of Independent Disks) cards. It has five PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) slots (5X32-bit), up to seven bays and integrated 10/100 Ethernet capability.

The x200 comes with 64 of ECC SDRAM (Error Checking and Correcting Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory) and can be expanded to 1.5G-bytes. A 15G-byte hard drive is standard, and it can expand to carry 145.6G-bytes of internal storage capacity.

IBM also introduced a low-priced two-processor server for workgroups or branch offices. The x220, priced at $1,405 on their Web site, comes with a single Pentium III 800Mhz processor but can be equipped with up to two 933Mhz Pentium III processors. The stock model has 128M-bytes of ECC SDRAM and can expand to 4G-bytes of ECC SDRAM.

However, it lacks a hard drive. While expandable to 145.6 G-bytes of storage, a 9.1G-byte hard drive -- the smallest available -- will add $214.

IBM claims the eServer x220 is "the lowest priced two-way server in the industry offering high-availability," according to their release. "Typically the hardware performs at consistently above a 95-percent uptime," Gargan said, touting reliability features like the error-checking memory, hot-swap SCSI (Small Computer Systems Interface) hard files and improved system management capabilities -- including an optional $499 remote supervisor card.

Dell Computer Corp. introduced a two-way server in October starting at $1,039 -- about $360 less expensive than the IBM offering. Dell's PowerEdge 300 comes equipped with one or two 800-MHz Pentium III processors. It supports up to 1G-byte of memory and runs the latest Windows, NetWare and Linux operating systems. It also includes three bays with up to 60G-bytes of internal drive capacity.

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