HP to Ship 2nd-Generation Profusion Systems in Early 2003

In early 2003, Hewlett-Packard Co. plans to roll out eight-processor servers based on a second-generation Profusion chipset that supports the newer Intel Xeon MP processors.

Earlier in November, HP ran an eight-way ProLiant DL760 system on the Transaction Processing Performance Council's TPC-C benchmark. The system ran on the new second-generation Profusion chipset, code-named "F8;" 2-GHz Xeon MP processors; Windows .NET Server 2003 Datacenter Edition; and SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition.

HP's results were impressive, coming in with performance a hair better than the only other eight-way result using the 2-GHz Xeon MPs at the time -- one from IBM Corp. Using a similar stack of processors, operating system and database, IBM published a result of 111,024 transactions per minute on the TPC-C (tpmC). HP's result was 111,805 tpmC -- a difference of less than 1 percent. IBM, however, had the better price/performance at $6.96/tpmC compared to HP's $7.97/tpmC. A few days later, IBM reran the benchmark and beat HP with a score of 112,740 tpmC.

In the older Pentium III Xeon processor lines, server makers relied on Intel's Profusion chipset for eight-processor machines. Intel doesn't yet ship an eight-way chipset for its Xeon MP line, leaving server vendors to fend for themselves. IBM has chosen a "brick" approach in which Big Blue connects its four-processor "Summit" chipsets to build systems of up to 16 processors.

While IBM's systems have been available for several months (although not with the Windows .NET Server 2003 operating system used in the benchmark), HP sells its ProLiant DL760s with the old Profusion chipset and Pentium III Xeon processors at 900 MHz.

In a statement, HP officials said the F8-based systems will be available in early 2003. On the TPC-C benchmark report, HP declared that its test configuration would be available in May 2003.

The other major player in the eight-processor Windows- and Intel-based server sector, Dell Computer Corp., has also provided relatively little information on its plans for eight-processor systems with Xeon MP processors. IBM executives say the early availability of Xeon MP-based IBM servers has helped IBM take market share from its competitors in the last two quarters.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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