Continuing its progression toward an Intel-only server portfolio, Hewlett-Packard is expected to round out its Itanium-based server line and unveil a two-processor Xeon-based box designed to be a low-cost node in high-performance computing clusters.

HP executives said they hoped the new 1U two-processor DL140 will make the company more competitive in the low-end market, where cost-conscious customers are buying primarily from Dell and vendors such as Rackable and RackSaver.

The DL140, a rack-mounted system, will include two Xeon 3.2-GHz processors, 4GB of memory and an embedded Gigabit Ethernet network interface card, and be priced at just under US$1,300, said HP. In comparison, HP's 1U, two-processor DL360 starts at just under $5,000.

The DL140, which is slated to be available in a few weeks, is the first in a new ProLiant 100 series line of servers that HP will introduce during the next few months. The boxes are aimed at companies looking for reliability and simplicity at a low price, said Paul Miller, vice president of marketing for HP Industry Standard Servers. The servers will come with only limited capabilities from Insight Manager and some CDs to simplify management at remote locations.

HP also is expected to complete its Itanium-based Integrity server line with the eight-processor rx7620; 16-processor rx8620; dense form factor, four-way rx4640; and a carrier-grade, two-way system, the cx2600. The rx7620 and the rx8620 can be ordered now, and are priced at just under $24,000 and just under $63,000, respectively.

HP first introduced its Integrity line in June, unveiling the two-way rx2600, four-way rx5670 and the Integirty Superdome, which can expand to 64 processors.

"On the one hand, (HP is) trying to compete with IBM, primarily at the high end. On the other hand, it's trying to compete with Dell at the low end," said Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata. "It's trying to play at both ends, which is a tough strategy."

HP also is expected to announce two new Linux clusters: the XC6000, based on 64-bit Integrity rx2600 systems, and the XC3000 cluster, based on ProLiant DL360s. The clustered systems, which can support up to 512 processors, are expected to be available in December. Pricing wasn't released.