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IBM next month will start powering its blade servers with Intel Corp.’s low-voltage version of its “Nocona” processor, a move designed to reduce the energy consumption and heat generated by the dense-form-factor systems.

Using the processor in IBM’s BladeCenter HS20 systems will reduce the power consumption per processor by about 50 watts and by up to 1.5 kilowatts per chassis, said Scott Tease, worldwide director of product management for BladeCenter.

That reduction will mean less heat being generated, which will lessen the burden on air conditioning systems in the data centers, Tease said. “Whenever we don’t use power, we don’t generate heat,” he said.

The low-voltage Xeon processor—which, like all chips with the Nocona core, can run both 32- and 64-bit applications—consumes about 55 watts, a little more than half of the 103 watts consumed by the regular Xeon.

Matt Forney, manager of network systems at Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Inc., said he expects to buy 10 chassis holding blades with the low-voltage chip. “With this option, I get to keep my existing systems,” said Forney in Rockville, Md. “Five years ago it wasn’t a problem. The boxes were so large and demand wasn’t great, so power wasn’t a problem and cooling wasn’t a problem. That changed when 1Us came out.”

The processor eats up about 30 percent of the total power consumed by the server, according to Tease.

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The move is the latest by the Armonk, N.Y., company to reduce power consumption and heat—key issues for enterprises looking to use blades to put more compute power into smaller footprints.

IBM also consolidates components by removing them from the blade and putting them in the chassis. Fourteen dual-processor 1U (1.75-inch) rack servers need 28 power supplies. A chassis of 14 blades uses only four, Tease said.

In addition, IBM has been able to replace 112 fans in the servers with two blowers in the chassis. The shared-component de-sign, including DVD and floppy drives, also means fewer parts needing to draw energy, Tease said.

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