IBM Corp. has pepped up a low end server in its Unix line with the addition of one of the latest Power4 processors, the company said Friday.

IBM will start shipping the p630 server with a 1.45GHz Power4+ processor by the end of this month. The new chip is a boost over the older, standard Power4 chip that still sits in the high-end pSeries systems. IBM has decided to give the one- to four-processor p630 a boost with the chip, as it tries to apply more pressure to rival Sun Microsystems Inc. at the lower end of the Unix market, said Jim McGaughan, director of IBM eServer product marketing.

The p630 is one of the pSeries systems that IBM offers with both its own AIX version of Unix and the Linux operating system. Users can run Linux as the main operating system or in a partition on AIX. The ability to run either operating system gives customers the option of running Unix-ready business software such as an SAP AG application and a Linux Web server on the same system, McGaughan said.

IBM is hoping the p630 will be one of the key systems in its battle to unseat Sun as the leader in low-end Unix systems. Hewlett-Packard Co. also competes in this market.

The p630 with the new chip will be sold with one, two or four processors, McGaughan said. The system starts at US$19,025.

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