December 9, 1996 10 AM ET

Low-cost servers on tap
NEC, Data General to ship Pentium, Pentium Pro devices

By Stephanie LaPolla

  IT managers looking for a robust business server at a modest price have several new options, as NEC Computer Systems Inc. and Data General Corp. prepare upgraded Pentium and Pentium Pro machines.

NEC and DG will each ship this week workgroup and departmental servers with high availability, upgradability and compatibility with several operating systems.

NEC upgraded its ProServa V series with the two-processor Pentium ProServa V Plus at 120MHz or 200MHz speeds and added new system management software. The ProServa V Plus includes 16M bytes or 32M bytes of RAM, eight drive bays, an Ethernet card and NEC's ESM (Enterprise Server Management) software.

ESM provides a built-in register for detailed monitoring of fan speed, temperature, I/O and CPU performance, said NEC officials in Mountain View, Calif.

Both systems run Windows NT or NetWare.

But the hook for NEC is price. The 120MHz system starts at $1,984, and the 200MHz pricing begins at $2,961, officials said.

Do corporate users still want a Pentium server when Pentium Pro machines promise more power? "Price is what gets everyone's attention," said Bill Cunningham, president of Dataware Products Inc., in Westwood, Mass. Add to that "more expansion slots, two CPUs, UltraSCSI, [and] the performance of [the ProServa V Plus] is twice that of a 133MHz Pentium."

DG's new servers are 200MHz Pentium Pro towers that include the single-processor AV1600 with 256K bytes of cache and the dual-processor AV2600 with 512K bytes of integrated cache. Both come with an integrated motherboard that includes UltraSCSI and 10/100M-bps Ethernet LAN controllers, Super VGA and system management capabilities, said DG officials in Westboro, Mass.

The $3,900 AV1600 includes 512M bytes of memory; the $8,100 AV2600 has 1G byte of memory and RAID levels 0, 1 and 5 with as many as 10 hot-swappable disks. Both servers run NT, NetWare, SCO UnixWare and Open Server, and DG/UX.

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