Taiwanese hardware maker Iwill has become the first company to promise an eight-way server based on the 64-bit AMD Opteron 800 processor. Volume production will make it available by the end of the year, a company exec said at the Computex 2004 exhibition in Taipei.

The Opteron 800 was introduced by AMD in June 2003 to be used in eight-way servers, but the chip has to date primarily been used in four-way servers. That could soon change, according to Gary Lin, product marketing manager at Iwill's PC division.

Iwill's eight-way Opteron server is a 5U (22.2cm-high) rack-mounted unit. Inside, the server contains two motherboards stacked one above the other, with each board holding four processors. The server can be equipped with up to 64GB of DDR memory, two CD-ROM drives and eight Serial ATA hard-disk drives.

"This is a very cost-effective way of building a high-performance server," Lin said, adding that Iwill expects to see the eight-way Opteron server be competitive against more expensive servers based on Intel Corp.'s 64-bit Itanium 2 processor.

Potential customers can obtain samples of the eight-way server now, and the server will be in volume production at the end of the year, Lin said. Iwill does not plan to sell the servers under its own brand name, instead producing the units under contract for other vendors, he said, noting that pricing has not been finalised.

So far the company has attracted interest in the eight-way server from two large vendors, one in Japan and one in the US, Lin said.