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Specs: Major chipmakers expected to tout new processors due out next year

IBM, Sun and AMD will talk up their new Power, UltraSPARC and Opteron chips at a conference this week. Also: Pentadyne and Socomec win an innovation award; IBM is expected to fire about 400 BladeCenter engineers; and Verari releases blade management software.

Chipmakers expected to talk up new processors

Major chipmakers, such as IBM, Sun Microsystems Inc. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) are expected to talk up their upcoming processors at a conference in San Jose, Calif., this week.

IBM and Sun are planning on releasing their new iterations of in-house-developed RISC chips for midrange systems next year. AMD, meanwhile, is trying to build momentum around its quad-core chip for x86 servers, due out in the middle of next year.

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IBM's Power6 processor is expected to deliver about twice the performance without increasing the power it takes to run it. Sun plans to release its follow up to the UltraSPARC T1 processor, which will have the capability of eight cores running eight threads apiece. The current version can also have eight cores, but each core can only run four threads at the same time.

AMD's quad-core chip will be coming out after Intel Corp. releases its version later this year. But AMD claims that its version will be a more natural quad-core chip compared to Intel's, which the company said will be more like two dual-core chips hooked together.

Pentadyne, Socomec win innovation award

A flywheel energy storage system from Pentadyne Power Corp., integrated into an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) from Socomec Sicon, has won a design award.

Frost & Sullivan, a San Antonio-based research and consulting firm, gave the combined system its 2006 Product Innovation Award for being a unique UPS system that employs greener technology. The award and entries were focused on UPS systems.

Socomec, based in France, plans to show the new UPS system at the Datacenter Dynamic conference in London next month. Flywheels have emerged as an alternative energy storage system to batteries, which can be unpredictable and difficult to monitor. Proponents of flywheel energy also argue that it is more environmentally friendly. Critics say that mechanical processes such as running a flywheel for energy have maintenance problems of their own.

IBM reportedly lays off 400 BladeCenter employees

IBM has reportedly fired about 400 employees who work on the development of BladeCenter, the company's blade servers.

InformationWeek reported that it had gotten hold of an internal memo that explained the layoffs to managers at IBM. The cuts are reportedly taking place across the country, including at engineering plants in Austin, Texas, and Burlington, Vt.

The cuts are for engineers working on developing the company's blade servers, which have seen rapid revenue growth as a popular, new server platform. The memo gives employees 30 days to find another position within IBM or be fired and said that affected employees will receive one week's worth of pay for every six months of service.

Verari releases blade server management software

Verari Systems Inc. has released software capable of monitoring the power and performance of its blade server systems.

The San Diego-based company's software, called Verari Command Center, works with its BladeRack 2 chasses and blade servers. The software can determine the power levels, monitor heat levels and measure performance on the system.

The software has three versions -- standard, advanced and enterprise -- that provide different levels of capabilities. For example, the advanced version does everything the standard version does, plus it allows for remote server management and other features. The enterprise version does everything the advanced version does with some further add-ons, such as the ability to receive email alerts when a certain event happens.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Mark Fontecchio, News Writer

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