Compaq unveils new midrange model

Compaq Computer Corp. this week will introduce the successor to its popular ProLiant 1500 network server a machine designed to offer new levels of performance and scalability for departmental network users.

The ProLiant 2500 which runs on single or dual Pentium Pro 200 MHz processors will boost performance for ProLiant 1500 users particularly as an application server according to Compaq. In addition to the new speeds the ProLiant 2500 benefits from other technology advances in the chips and high bandwidth system components.

The new server also has a number of features - including Integrated Remote Console software - designed to make it easy to deploy and manage at remote office sites.

Although Compaq will continue to support the 1500 the company does not plan to introduce any models based on the Pentium Pro processor the company said. But the 2500 although it scales higher in performance and capacity begins at a similar price - some $6 000.

"We expect over time that ProLiant 1500 customers when they are ready to transition to Pentium Pro will upgrade to the 2500 " said John Young director of product marketing and business operations for Compaq's server products division. Much of that migration is expected in the first quarter of next year Young said.

Compaq also will begin pushing to add the new system to existing federal contracts said Gary Newgaard director of federal sales at Compaq's Reston Va. office. "The fact that this is coming in at a relatively similar price point makes it a good decision for the government " Newgaard said.

Contracts with the ProLiant 1500 include NASA's recently awarded Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement II on which Compaq is a prime and the Treasury Department Acquisition I program through Government Technology Services Inc. Hughes Data Systems' Desktop V is another strong candidate for the new system said Newgaard.

The ProLiant 2500 benefits from changes to chip architecture that Intel Corp. made with the Pentium Pro processors. Unlike older chips the Pentium Pro supports independent cache for multiple chips which allows system performance to scale much higher as new processors are added. Compaq did not sell too many dual processor models of the ProLiant 1500 because it lacked that scalability Young said.

The 200 MHz chip also adds 256K in integrated second-level cache which will have a big impact on performance according to Compaq.

"For the more sophisticated applications like the database this is a much more attractive application server than the 1500 " said Lynda Fitzpatrick a market analyst at International Data Corp. Framingham Mass. "If you are running 32-bit applications with a 32-bit operating system you really should see a pretty big performance increase " she said.

The ProLiant 2500 also comes with 32M of memory but that is expandable to a gigabyte.

Compaq improves input/output by using a Double Fast-Wide SCSI-2 controller which transfers up to 40 megabit/sec. The system also supports Wide Ultra SCSI controllers for use with the Ultra SCSI 4.3G and 9G hard drives that are coming out next year. Additionally the system supports either 10 megabit/sec or 100 megabit/sec Ethernet connectivity.

The ProLiant 2500 comes with two Peripheral Component Interconnects and four shared PCI/Extended Industry Standard Architecture slots stores up to 30.1G data internally supports hot-pluggable hard drives includes a preinstalled Integrated Drive Electronics CD-ROM drive includes two available 5.25-inch removable media drive bays and is designed for easy conversion between tower and rack-mounted configurations. Like the ProLiant 1500 the new server supports both Unix and Windows NT operating systems.

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