IBM delivers copper chip-based server

Turning up the pressure on its archrival Sun Microsystems, Inc., IBM on Wednesday shipped what it claims is the industry’s fastest Unix-based workstation, which is propelled by its copper-based processors.

Besides the copper-based chips, what also contributes to the Model 170 workstation’s performance is the inclusion of a dedicated 3D graphics accelerator, the GXT6000P. The graphics adapter card offers the performance boost necessary for those involved in complex design projects for airplanes and cars.

The updated Model 170, a member of IBM’s pSeries of workstations formerly known as the RS/6000 family, is anchored by a 450 MHz version of IBM’s Power3-II chip. The system can hold up to two gigabytes of memory and 145.5 gigabytes of storage.

Available immediately prices for the new model start at $10,495. The higher performance-version containing the 3D graphics accelerator are available for just under US$30,000.

The Model 170 is positioned to go head to head with Sun’s Sun Blade 1000, announced last fall. Based on the company’s UltraSparc III processor, Sun has yet to ship the system.

The graphics card adapter has three capabilities fundamental for carrying our 3D design, according to IBM officials, which include significantly improved integer performance, high floating point performance, and data throughput.

The accelerator also offers restoration and geometric processing making it possible for engineers to more exactly calculate and render complex models to scale.

The Model 170 now also contains a service processor that continuously monitors system operations and will take preventative and/or corrective measures to carry out simple and more sophisticated remote system management functions.