IWILL Set to Start Supplies of Dual-CPU Barebones

@ 2004/12/28
The world’s first small form-factor barebone for two AMD Opteron processors is set to start its sales in Tokyo, Japan, in a few days, after numerous delays. The move proves possibility to make dual-chip configurations in cube-like small cases with space constraints, but the delay outlines possible issues with such projects.

ZMAXdp – World’s First 2-Way Barebone

IWILL’s ZMAXdp powered by two AMD Opteron 200-series microprocessors will be based on NVIDIA nForce3 Professional core-logic supporting 800MHz HyperTransport bus, Serial ATA-150 with RAID support, Gigabit Ethernet as well as NVIDIA’s very own Firewall technology. The barebone will offer 1 AGP 8x and 1 PCI slot for additional flexibility as well as 2 bays for 3.5” HDDs in addition to 1 5.25” bay. The SFF system was initially expected to come with 300W power-supply unit.

One of the drawbacks of the ZMAXdp is cut-down memory bandwidth: each AMD Opteron chip can only operate in single-channel memory mode. All AMD Opteron processors feature dual-channel memory controllers with peak theoretical memory bandwidth of 5.30GB/s or 6.40GB/s depending on the memory type used. Single-channel mode would only give each AMD Opteron chip 2.70GB or 3.20GB of data per second depending on the memory speed. Reduced memory bandwidth and, as a consequence, lowered performance of AMD Opteron processors are likely to put performance of IWILL ZMAXdp on a level below competing full form-factor systems.

IWILL is the first company to make a 2P small form-factor workstation. The firm positions its forthcoming barebone for CAD/CAM, video/graphics designers who are interested in simultaneous 32-/64-bit computing. While the market for such systems is clearly not as large as the market for small PCs, IWILL is likely to enjoy high gross-margins of such 2-way systems.

Volume production of the ZMAXdp was planned to start in September, 2004, while the pricing of the barebone was suggested to be at $499. According to a report from Akiba PC Hotline web-site, the ZMAXdp will emerge in Tokyo, Japan, in very late December, 2004, for the price of about $715.

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