One of the weaknessess with HP's MediaSmart servers running MIcrosoft's Windows Home Server software was that it was of no use as backup platforms for Macs running the Time Machine backup software. That shortcoming is no longer the case, as HP announced plans to upgrade its MediaSmart server lineup with a pair of Mac-compatible models - HP MediaSmart Server ex485 (750GB of hard disk storage) and ex487 (1.5TB).
"A growing number of digital-savvy households have both Windows and Mac computers, with hundreds and sometimes thousands of media files and documents scattered across these devices,” said Jason Zajac, vice president of strategy, Worldwide Attach Group, HP. “The HP MediaSmart Server protects, stores and organizes this content from anywhere on a network so consumers can access and share it any place they are connected."
Both models come with a 64-bit Intel Celeron processor clocked at 2.0Ghz, 2GB of DDR2-800 RAM (previous models only came with 512MB of RAM), and expandability with up to 9TB of storage. The ex485 and ex487 are expected to be available in February 2009 for $600 and $750 respectively.
Competition for the upcoming refreshed MediaSmart line may come from Apple, 9to5Mac.com speculates. According to the Mac site, Apple has plans to expand the Time Capsule paltform to include much of the same functionality, with the real question being whether or not Apple will decide to put most of its services in the Cloud. If such an update is in the cards for Apple, an announcement would likely be forthcoming at Macworld, which runs from January 5-9, 2009.
VIA has announced the ARTiGo A2000 barebones storage mini-server, a tiny box with a small price tag. The compact mini-server offers a high capacity, low power power storage system while also claiming to keep noise levels below 26.8 dB.
1.6GHz VIA C7-D processor
VIA VX8000 Unified Digital Media IGP chipset
1 x DDR2 SO-DIMM Socket (up to 2GB)
2 x 3.5" SATA II
1 x CF socket
3 x USB 2.0 ports (1 on front panel)
Other specs include a LAN port, audio ports, wireless LAN support, built-in HD audio, and support for Windows XP/Vista, and Linux. But perhaps the ARTiGo A2000's biggest appeal is it's small stature. The mini-server is designed using a custom Nano-ITX form factor and up to 3TB of data can be crammed into a chassis no higher than a CD and only 10.2 inches long.
Included software gives uses the ability to create up to 10 encrypted virtual drives, with the encryption being "performed with virtually no CPU load."
Several e-tailers have begun offering the device on pre-order for $299, and depending on where you order it from, could ship as early as this month.
Citing un-named sources at server makers, DigiTimes says Intel plans to launch several quad-core Xeon 5500 and Xeon 3500 Nehalem-based server CPUs and one dual-core Xeon chip in the first quarter of 2009. These include:
The Xeon 5500 series will come with 8MB of L2 cache instead of 12MB, but is expected to be negated by Core i7's QuickPath architecture. The Xeon 3500 series will come with 8MB of L2 cache but will only run in single-socket systems. Prices for the new chips will range from $188 (E5502) on up to $1600 (W5580) for thousand-unit tray quantities.
On the chopping block are seven notebook CPUs, including the Core 2 Extreme X7900 an X7800, and Core 2 Duo T7800 and L7700. These are expected to be phased out in January 2009.
Dell this week has launched a new line of OptiPlex desktop rigs, starting with the company's new flagship OptiPlex 960. The 960 comes wrapped in three different chassis designs -- mini-tower, desktop, and SFF -- with a configurable interior that lets consumers choose from both Intel's Core 2 Duo and quad-processor lineup, onboard or add-in graphics, and up to 8GB of DDR2 RAM. The new OptiPlex also looks to go green with what Dell claims is a 43 percent reduction in power consumption compared to previous OptiPlex models. Other improvements include a sturdier frame, significant noise reduction (up to 60 percent), and beefed up security through full drive encryption.
Among the OptiFlex refresh also sits Dell's FX160. The FX160 is Dell's first ever thin client, and can be configured to support either a Virtual Remote Desktop thin client environment or an On-Demand Desktop Streaming environment. Underneath the hood is an Intel Atom processor.
The new OptiPlex rigs are available now with starting prices ranging from $399 (FX160) on up to $863 (960).
Out with the old and in with the new. That's what Intel's doing with its Xeon server line of processors, as the chip maker announced in a product change notification (PCN) to customers that it plans to phase out 31 different retail boxed dual- and quad-core Xeons built around the Core architecture on a 65nm manufacturing process as it transitions to 45nm.
Specifically, six Woodcrest dual-core Xeons (5120, 5150, LV5148, 5110, 5130, 5140, 5160) and nine Cloverton quad-core Xeons (E5310, E5320, L5320, E5335, L5335, E5345, X5365, X5355) are getting the axe, in addition to variations in each lineup to bring the total up to 31, TGDaily reports.
Once supply of the boxed versions run out, customers will no longer be able to order the 65nm chips though tray units will still be made available, albeit with a shorter warranty through the reseller and without a bundled heatsink/fan.
Barcelona might have been a sullen nightmare for AMD but it seems to have moved on. It has now pinned its hopes on Shanghai, a quad-core processor for the server market, which happens to be its first processor to be synthesized on a 45-nanometer process.
The company has begun shipping Shanghai to its OEM partners. Shanghai will be launched ahead of time, before the end of this year, unlike Barcelona that was plagued by delays.
Intel today announced the official release of their Dunnington-based Xeon 7400 server CPU. The six-core chip is monolithic, meaning that all six cores are on one die, and is the first Xeon CPU to sport that design. The previous 7300 series CPU, dubbed Tigerton, was a quad-core processor with two dual-core chips on a single module (like existing quad-core consumer chips). As expected, Dunnington is still of the Penryn architecture (45nm High-K manufacturing process), and will be compatible with current Tigerton Socket 604 motherboards.
Speed-wise, Intel claims a 50% performance increase in the 7400 over the 7300 series CPU based on TPC-E database benchmark testing (TPC-E simulates the online transaction workload of a large brokerage firm). More impressive is Intel’s claim that even with the improved performance, Dunnington’s energy efficiency actually means it uses 10% lower power than the previous generation. The gains are largely attributed to the presence of a new 16MB level-3 cache, in addition to the extra compute power of two more cores. Xeon 7400 CPUs will launch at 2.66Ghz with either four or six core, and will be priced from $856 to $2729.
What does this mean for consumers? Unfortunately, not much. Intel has no current plans to release a six-core CPU to the mainstream market, and few applications would be able to scale well enough to take full advantage of the additional two cores. Intel seems to be pushing Nehalem for the consumer market, which will launch as a quad-core. Dunnington customers – large Web 2.0 companies like Myspace – will be the ones who benefit most from the extra performance and power efficiency, which may enable them to develop compute-intensive features like high-definition video sharing.
More pics of the sizable chip and Intel's press conference after the jump.
While the world looks ahead to Core i7, the first processor sporting the Nehalem architecture, Intel continues to tweak its currently shipping CPUs, this time for the server market. The new Xeon X5492 takes its place as the flagship Xeon processor, bumping the clockspeed from the previous high of 3.2GHz to 3.4GHz. The frontside-bus also gets a boost, settling in at 1.6GHz.
Intel also released the X5470, a slightly slower 3.33GHz part on a 1.33GHz frontside-bus. The lower clockspeeds allow the chip to consume a more modest 120W, compared to the X5492's 150W peak power draw. An even lower power L5430 makes a debut too. Aimed at small-profile desktops, the L5430 sips just 50W at 2.66GHz.
All three quad-core chips are available now with large-batch pricing from $562 (L5430) to $1,493 (X5492).
All eyes continue to be glued to Intel and its upcoming Core i7 (Nehalem), but AMD has a product release in the wings too, this one for the server market. The struggling chip maker said it's planning to release a new server platform in the second half of 2009 currently code named Fiorano. Built to take advantage of AMD's upcoming 45nm Shanghai processor, Fiorano represents the company's first foray into the server chipset market instead of using chipsets from Nvidia and Broadcom.
The Fiorno platform will fully support the company's chip-to-chip technolgy called HyperTransport 3 while also offering a new virtualization technology called IOMMU, which allows for the virtualization of the system's I/O traffic. Support for the second generation PCI-Express will also be included, but the same can't be said for DDR3 because of cost concerns.
"it will hit once the price of DDR3 comes down," said John Fruehe, who handles worldwide channel market development for AMD's Server and Workstation Division. "The back half of next year is about the time the process changes in DDR3 will happen that will allow the prices to come down."
The first AMD platform to use DDR3 memory will be called Maranello (previously known as Piranha).
Social networking site Facebook finds itself needing to update its data center infrastructure to support new media applications, and Intel will be the one to help them do it. The two companies on Thursday announced a joint agreement that will see Facebook use "thousands" of Xeon 5400 quad-core processors built on a 45nm manufacturing process.
More than just hardware support, Intel will also work with Facebook to optimize its software for use with the bevy of Xeon chips, giving extra focus to making the software take advantage of the additional processor cores. Moreover, Intel will look to send a message that its microarchitecture can support the massive data centers that will support cloud-computing infrastructures.
"It's a big win for Intel in the general category of web infrastructure and by that I mean categories like cloud computing," said John Spooner, an analyst with Technology Business Research. "Facebook has a large computing infrastructure that delivers these types of web services on demand and it requires the same level of service and infrastructure as a cloud-computing provider."
Facebook wouldn't comment on which OEMs would build the new servers, but according to eWeek, multiple sources have confirmed Dell and HP would be involved.