IBM Chops High-End Power CPU And Memory Prices
November 4, 2013 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The fourth quarter is well under way and everyone now knows that Power8 systems are not going to start rolling out until the middle of 2014 or so. And this means IBM has to do some wheeling and dealing, particularly at the high-end where the Power7-based Power 795 machines are looking a little long in the tooth. This is because IBM did not provide a Power7+ bump at the high end of the Power Systems line in late 2012 or early 2013, and it has no plans to, either.
IBM generally does not provide a “plus” bump to its high-end Power Systems machines because the multichip modules that come out with the original chips in any generation are already running at the rated top speed for the chip. These high end customers don’t want to do upgrades every 18 months and 36 months suits their needs a little better. They would rather scale up the performance in the box by activating more cores than swapping out processors through an upgrade to slightly faster chips. You don’t touch a big bad box that is running the business unless you really have to.
So, in announcement letter 313-096 to get existing Power 795 customers to spend a little dough, IBM is cutting prices on both processor activations and memory activations for the Power 795. Here’s what the price cuts look like:
The 26 percent price cut is only available on the Feature 4700 processor, which runs at 4 GHz; the activation code for a core on that chip is Feature 4713. You can buy them in groups of 64 core activations and these also have a 26 percent price cut. Although, when you think about it, you will get even more off the top of that if you are cranking up 64 cores at the same time because there is no way there is not a volume discount on top of this price change. IBM is also chopping the prices on memory activations for the Power 795 machine by 24.5 percent. It now costs $185 per GB to turn memory on in the system.
That announcement letter also outlines lowered upgrade prices from other machines into the Power 795 as well as lower conversion costs between features in the Power 770 and Power 780 machines, as outlined here:
The price changes actually took place on October 7, the same week as the big Power Systems announcements. But the IBM announcement system is fluky, and so am I some days, and we both missed each other. Which is why I am telling you about it now. If you have done a deal in the past month on this iron, IBM will no doubt make good on the discounts.