HP Revamps ProLiant Rack and Tower Servers with New X64 Chips
Published: January 16, 2008
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
Server maker Hewlett-Packard is the dominant supplier of X64-based servers in the world, and keeping the technology current inside its ProLiant server lines and giving customers a choice of processor technology from both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices has served the company well in maintaining its lead in the X64 server space. This week, HP is putting new quad-core processors into its entry and midrange products.
Specifically, HP is plunking Intel's "Harpertown" Xeon 5400 series (the first of the Xeon chips to use the new 45 nanometer process and "Penryn" variant of the "Woodcrest" core) and AMD's "Barcelona" Rev F Opterons into four brand new ProLiant machines. The company is also dropping Harpertown processors into existing ProLiant machines that support them--which any machine that supports dual-core Woodcrest or quad-core "Clovertown" Xeons can do. And presumably, when AMD gets the debugged Barcelonas into the field this quarter, HP will also do a refresh of the ProLiant machines that support Opteron chips.
The two new servers that use the Harpertown processors are the ProLiant DL160 G5 and the DL180 G5. The DL160 G5 is a two-socket box with a 1U form factor that supports the Xeon 5400 processors today and will support the dual-core variants of the Penryn chips at some point in the future when they are available; these are known as the Xeon 5200s. The Harpertown chips used in this machine run at between 2 GHz and 3 GHz. The box supports up to 32 GB of DDR2 fully buffered DIMM main memory running at 667 MHz, and has up to four 3.5-inch SATA or SAS hot-plug disk drives arrayed across the front of the server. The SAS drives spin at 15K RPM and range in size from 36 GB to 300 GB, while SATA drives spin at 7200 RPM and range in capacity between 160 GB and 750 GB. That's a maximum of 3 TB of capacity using SATA drives and 1.2 TB using SAS drives. The motherboard in the server, which is presumably based on Intel's own 3200 series chipsets (HP doesn't say in its spec sheet), has two PCI-Express x16 slots (one long, one short) for attaching external peripherals and has an internal SATA RAID controller, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and a Lights Out 100i service processor card. The motherboard inside this server looks and smells like a workstation motherboard, by the way. A base DL160 G5 comes with the 2 GHz Xeon E5405, 1 GB of main memory, a single 160 GB SATA drive costs $1,499; it is available this week.
The more expandable HP Harpertown server is the DL180 G5, and it is a 2U form factor box that has its memory support trimmed back to 16 GB of main memory, which allows it to support up to a dozen hot plug SAS or SATA disks (the same ones used in the DL160 G5 server as well as other HP machines). The larger DL180 G5 server is a two-socket box supporting the same Harpertown X5400 and X5200 processors, but it has two PCI-Express x4 slots and a single x8 slot as well as more room for disk drives. This box is not available yet and is slated to ship in the next 90 days; pricing for the DL180 G5 is not available as yet.
On the Opteron side of the HP line are the DL165 G5 and the DL185 G5. The DL165 G5 is shipping with the Rev F Opteron 2200 series of dual-core processors from AMD and can support the quad-core Barcelona chips as soon as the debugged versions are ready for prime time. (AMD has a workaround for a cache bug it found late last year in the Barcelonas, but very few data centers will go for this.) This machine has essentially the same feeds and speeds as the Harpertown-based DL160 G5, meaning it is a 1U box with a motherboard that supports up to two processor sockets and 32 GB of main memory. This server is also not going to be available for 90 days, and pricing has not yet been set for it.
The Opteron-based DL185 G5 is similar to the Harpertown-based DL180 G5, as you might expect. The motherboard in the DL185 G5 supports up to 32 GB of DDR2 and the same three PCI-Express slots (one x4 and two x8) and two Gigabit Ethernet ports. Some models ship with an eight-drive E200 RAID controller, while others ship with a 12-drive P400 RAID controller. In addition to twice the memory that is supported on the Harpertown box, the Opteron-based DL185 G5 has something else the Harpertown box does not have--a rear drive option that allows another two disks to be put into the chassis. The DL185 G5 is available now with Opteron 2200s running at 2 GHz, 2.6 GHz, and 3 GHz. A base DL185 G5 with a single Opteron 2212 running at 2 GHz, 1 GB of memory, and eight drive cage that is empty, an the E200 SmartArray controller costs $1,749. It is available now.
HP preconfigures Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 variants on all of its ProLiant servers, and this is true on these boxes as well. Linux, NetWare, Solaris, and other operating systems can be installed on these machines through its Factory Express program.
HP is also touting that the new machines make use of an improved version of its Integrated Lights Out management software, which now allows the remote booting of servers off a DVD drive. HP is also working with partners to push pre-configured software stacks based on Microsoft's Exchange Server 2007 and Citrix Systems' Access Essentials host access software. HP has also put together a sales kit for its channel partners called the ProLiant Partner Kit, which includes product comparisons, demos, and customizable marketing materials to co-brand Web and paper marketing efforts with HP, as well as a portal for partners to access for more detailed information as they try to peddle the new ProLiants.
In addition to these four new machines, HP is rolling the Harpertown family of Xeon processors into its existing ML110, ML150, and ML310 tower servers and the DL320 rack server; the ML115 is also being updated to handle the Barcelona chips from AMD.
AMD Stalled by a Bug in Barcelona Opterons
Dell Revamps PowerEdge Server Line with Penryn Xeons
Intel Announces First "Penryn" Xeon Processors
AMD Gets Aggressive About Watts with Quad-Core Barcelonas
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