IBM, HP to release Itanium 2 systems

IBM Corp. is planning to announce its first Itanium 2 server this week, ending speculation about the strength of the company's commitment to Intel Corp.'s processor, according to sources familiar with IBM's plan.

IBM's x450 server was shown last year at Linuxworld, but the company had not released any other details prior to this week. At last year's show, IBM said the server would feature between four and eight Itanium 2 processors.

An IBM spokeswoman declined to comment on the unannounced products.

IBM has its own chip for 64-bit servers, the Power4, which had led many observers to question IBM's desire to release a system based on a competing chip. The company did build a cluster of Itanium 2-based servers for The National Center of Supercomputing Applications last year, but had been otherwise quiet about its plans for the Itanium 2 processor.

Separately on Tuesday, Hewlett-Packard Co. said it would ship two Itanium 2-based workstations for the high-performance computing market that run Microsoft Corp.'s new Windows XP 64-Bit Edition Version 2003 operating system. The workstations are the first HP products to make use of the new operating system that is tailored for Itanium products. A 64-bit version for Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s Opteron processor will be released later this year by Microsoft. The zx2000 and zx6000 will be available on May 1, and cost US$3,298 and $4,896, respectively.

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