Gateway Adds Entry Opteron Tower Server, Windows NAS Arrays
Published: March 21, 2007
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
Server and PC maker Gateway continues to expand its catalog of servers that use the Opteron processors from Advanced Micro Devices. Having begun shipments of two-socket and four-socket Opteron machines back in November 2006, Gateway is now peddling a single-socket machine that supports Athlon 64 or Opteron 1000 series processors in an effort to go after the volume SMB customer base.
Gateway does, of course, sell a line of Intel Xeon-based servers that offer similar functionality as the Opteron-based servers and custom motherboards, too, which Gateway creates with its Taiwanese partner, Inventec. And while Mark Tanguay, senior group manager for servers and storage at Gateway says that the company is being agnostic about its X64 chip sourcing, this particular entry Opteron server is a key part of Gateway's push into the SMB space. The prior Opteron machines were relatively big iron, and had much higher price points. But by using the dual-core Athlon 64 3500+ processor in the new E-9232T tower server, the company can hit a very aggressive $699 price point and still deliver a relatively powerful machine with lots of features. Gateway's current entry tower product, the E-9220T, has a $599 entry price point, but only supports Intel's Celeron D and Pentium D processors--not exactly modern technology, and certainly not high performance processors.
The E-9232T server can come with that 2 GHz Athlon 64 3500+ chip, or it can be equipped with dual-core Opteron Rev F 1210, 1212, and 1216 processors, which run at 1.8 GHz to 2.4 GHz and which have more bandwidth into main memory and I/O than the Althon chip has. The tower is also ready to run AMD's quad-core "Barcelona" chip, when it begins shipping around June or July.
The server has four DDR2 memory sockets and supports up to 8 GB of main memory. It has room for four 3.5-inch SATA-II disks (for up to 3 TB of storage using 750 GB disks), and has onboard RAID 1, 5, and 10 data protection on the disks. The server comes with two Gigabit Ethernet ports on the motherboard, and five PCI slots for peripheral expansion.
Like the other Xeon and Opteron servers that Gateway announced last year in an effort to push into this lucrative space (well, more lucrative than PCs, anyway), the E-9232T tower server supports the Gateway Lights Out, or GLO, adapter card, which allows remote keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) and remote media (such as CDs and DVDs) over the Internet. The GLO card, which costs $149, means servers can be remotely administered without needing to add special KVM switches on the front end of the servers; each server has its own Web address, and the GLO card has a baby Web server in it that links back into the service processor built into the machine.
The base E-9232T server with the 2 GHz Althon 3500+ chip has 512 MB of memory and a single 80 GB SATA drive. Moving up to the dual-core 1.8 GHz Opteron 1210 processor boosts the price to $999, and with the top-end Opteron 1216 part, which clocks at 2.6 GHz, the base box costs $1,599. Prices do not include an operating system. Windows Server 2003 R2 and Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 can be pre-configured on the machine, but you are on your own if you want Linux. Tanguay says that Gateway makes available the drivers for customers who want to run Linux, and that the current Red Hat and Novell distributions have been certified on the machine; but customers are on their own when it comes to support for Linux.
In addition to the new entry Opteron server, Gateway has announced five new network attached storage (NAS) arrays based on Microsoft's Windows Storage Server 2003 R2, which are based on its most recent Intel Xeon and AMD Opteron tower and rack servers. These NAS arrays have the same remove KVM features as the servers--which is a key selling point as far as Gateway is concerned.
Base configurations of these NAS arrays run from $2,677 to $2,897, including the cost of the Microsoft storage software and a single 80 GB SATA-II drive. The NAS arrays support 15K RPM SAS and 7200 RPM SATA-II disks. The E-9520T NAS box has the most expandability of the five machines, and is based on a two-socket Intel motherboard and the quad-core "Clovertown" Xeon 5300 chip. With two 1.86 GHz Clovertowns--that's eight cores in total--4 GB of cache memory, and two RAID arrays with five each of the 300 GB SAS disks, this NAS box costs $16,598.
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