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Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Intel Corp. this week are rolling out enhancements to some of its processors, and OEMs are following with systems that take advantage of the upgrades.

AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday is rolling out the next generation of its 64-bit Opteron processors. The Model 852 is designed for four-way systems and the 252 for two-processor servers. The 152 is aimed at workstations.

The first two models will be available by the end of the month, said Ben Williams, vice president of enterprise and server/workstation business for AMD. The 152 will be available in April.

Enhancements to the processors, which are built on AMD’s 90-nanometer manufacturing process, include support for the AMD-8132 HypterTransport PCI-X 2.0 tunnel, which results in higher throughput and compatibility with upcoming PCI Express offerings. PCI Express connectivity is supplied through Nvidia Corp., and work with Broadcom Corp. and other chip set suppliers will include technologies with further support for PCI Express, according to AMD.

The chips also offer AMD’s PowerNow technology, which enables them to dynamically increase or decrease power consumption, depending on demand, and will run at up to 2.6GHz, a slight jump from the 2.4GHz currently available in the Opteron, Williams said.

Hewlett-Packard Co., which over the past year has grown its line of Opteron-based ProLiant systems, this week will unveil new systems based on the AMD processors, including two blade servers, the BL25p and BL35p.

The two-way BL25p offers optional Fibre Channel support for SAN (storage area network) deployments and clustering environments.

The two-processor “half-high” BL35p is designed for greater density, said Paul Miller, vice president of marketing for HP’s Industry Standard Servers group. The systems are aimed at high-performance computing clusters, where storage tends to be external and the focus is on compute power. The ultra-dense design and lower power consumption provide higher rack density, up to 96 servers in a standard rack.

In addition, HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., is rolling out the ProLiant 385, a four-way system that offers an Opteron option to the company’s existing Intel-based 380, which Miller said is among the most popular four-way systems in the industry. Like the 380, the 385 also is managed by HP’s Insight Manager software.

All three servers will be available by the end of March, with both the 385 and BL35p starting at $2,899, and the BL25p starting at $3,399.

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HP also is unveiling its new dual-Opteron xw9300 workstation, which is available immediately starting at 1,899.

At the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in Boston this week, AMD officials also will discuss the company’s upcoming dual-core Opterons, due midyear. At the show, supercomputer vendor Cray Inc. will demonstrate an XD1 system running the dual-core chips, according to officials. Cray, of Seattle, intends to offer its supercomputer with the dual-core chips as soon as they become available, officials said.

For its part, Intel, of Santa Clara, Calif., this week will introduce the latest upgrade to its Xeon DP, or dual-processor, line. Code-named Irwindale, the new chips will boast 2MB of Level 2 cache. The chips also will feature Intel’s Demand-Based Switching technology, which can throttle down the processor depending on demand and thus reduce power consumption and cooling costs.

In addition, Intel’s Execute Disable Bit technology offers improved virus protection.

The announcement comes a week after Intel outlined its plans to release a Xeon MP multiprocessor chip with 64-bit capabilities later this quarter, and later this month the Pentium 4 600 Series featuring the EM64T 64-bit extensions.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., will upgrade several systems in its xSeries with the new Irwindale chips. Included in the upgrades will be the x226, x236, x336 and x346 servers, as well as the BladeCenter HS20 blade system. All will be available by the end of the month.

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