New IBM Supercomputer Packs 128 POWER4 Processors in a Single Frame; Smaller, Denser, Faster eServer to Transform Supercomputing Industry

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 15, 2002 -- IBM today announced an ultra dense UNIX(R) server targeted at the high performance computing market that is capable of reaching half a peak processing power of a trillion operations per second in a single frame.

The new eServer(TM) packs up to 128 POWER4(TM) processors per frame and is available in four or eight processor building blocks.

The eServer p655 is designed to meet the stringent demands of scientific and technical computing and Business Intelligence, as well as those applications that require very large databases or massively parallel processing including digital media and life sciences.

The eServer p655 is the next generation of the IBM supercomputer made famous by Deep Blue, the system that defeated chess champion Garry Kasparov. Since Deep Blue, IBM has been a leader in supercomputing, dominating the popular TOP500 List of Supercomputers. IBM supercomputers are used for applications such as those exploring genomic research in life sciences, making cars safer in automobile design, and optimizing investment strategies in financial markets.

The eServer p655 leverages IBM's breakthrough microprocessor technology to deliver outstanding scalability, density and price/performance that make it a superior alternative for customers thinking of deploying Itanium(R)2 server clusters.

A single eServer p655 rack with 128 POWER4 processors occupies significantly less space than the six racks needed to hold HP rx5670 Itanium2 systems with the same number of processors.(1)

Additionally, a 4-way eServer p655 with 1.3 GHz POWER4 processors has a SPECfp_rate2000 of 51.7, offering 15 percent better throughput than a HP rx5670 with four processors.(2)

Overall, the price of a 4-way eServer p655 is $72, 899 compared to $72,449 for a similarly configured 4-way Itanium2-based HP rx5670.(3)

"Tomorrow's innovations are rooted in the bedrock of supercomputing technologies, where IBM brings decades of experience to the table," said Adalio Sanchez, general manager of IBM eServer pSeries. "The eServer p655 is a significant breakthrough for customers who need massive performance power and scalability without massive computing space and costs. The flexibility and compact design of the POWER4-based eServer p655 make it an easy winner over competing systems, and sets a new standard by which all newcomers will be measured."

The eServer p655 system can be clustered as an eServer Cluster 1600 with a high-performance switch. For greater flexibility, systems can be defined using logical partitioning. Cluster systems administration from a single control workstation is provided by IBM's proven cluster management software offering.

Customers who operate large server clusters demand a system designed for uncompromising availability -- and the p655 delivers. From the integrated service processor to the Chipkill(TM) and bit-steering memory technologies, the eServer p655 offers enterprise-class autonomic computing capability. From a performance, packaging, flexibility or availability point of view, the p655 is ideal for customers whose workloads are best managed with a clustered server solution.

The starting price for the eServer p655 is $72,899(4) and is expected to ship in volume later this year. The p655 will run version 5.1 of the AIX 5L(tm) operating system, and Linux when available.(5)

About IBM

IBM is the world's largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across IBM and key Business Partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that enable customers, large and small, to take full advantage of the new era of e-business. For more information about IBM, visit


1) Five 4-way Itanium HP rx5670 (20 Itanium2 processors) fit in a 41U rack, taking six racks to hold 120 Itanium2 processors. Each HP rx5670 server is 7U in height. Racks for HP systems (e41 rack) are 23.5" x 39.2". Sixteen 8-way p655 servers (128 POWER4 processors) fit in one 42U rack. p655 racks are 30.5" x 54". HP information obtained from on November 14, 2002.

2) Based on SPECfp_rate2000 result of 51.7 for the IBM p655 4-way 1.3 GHz with POWER4 processor and 43.7 for the HP rx5670 4-way 1.0 GHz with Itanium(R) 2 processor. HP result posted on as of November 14, 2002. IBM result submitted to SPEC on November 11, 2002.

3) 4-way IBM eServer p655 versus 4-way HP rx5670. Both systems with 4GB of memory, 36 GB disk, Ethernet, media, and UNIX operating system. Rack and hardware management console prices not included in either system. All price information based on U.S. list prices as of November 14, 2002. Reseller prices may vary. HP prices from

4) Based on U.S. list price for the minimum p655 4-way with 1.3 GHz POWER4 processors, 4 GB memory and 2 18.2GB disk. Rack and hardware management console prices not included. Prices subject to change without notice. Reseller prices may vary.

5) IBM anticipates that one or more Linux distributors will support 64-bit Linux in the first half of 2003.

The IBM eServer brand consists of the established IBM e-business logo with the following descriptive term "server" following it. IBM, the e-business logo, pSeries, AIX 5L, POWER4 and Chipkill are trademarks of IBM Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Intel and Itanium trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries licensed exclusively through The Open Group. All other company/product names and service marks may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.


Willow Christie, 914/766-4427