IBM has added three multiple-processor systems aimed at data centers and large enterprise clients to its eServer range.

The P5-595 and I5-595 systems can incorporate up to 64 Power5 processors, and the P5-590 up to 32. This means users can run up to 250 virtual servers off each machine.

The P5-595 can use either 1.65GHz or 1.90GHz Power5 processors while the P5-590 only uses the slower processor. The new systems support versions 5.2 and 5.3 of IBM's AIX variant of Unix as well as Linux.

IBM said the new systems represent a significant power-to-cost improvement over existing servers. The P5-595 is nearly three times as fast as the current top-end server, the IBM eServer pSeries 690. The P5-590 is 45 percent faster and costs 40 percent less than its immediate predecessor, IBM said.

According to the company, benchmarks show that the Power5-based systems can outperform high-end servers from Sun, which run the proprietary UltraSPARC IV processor, and from HP which use either proprietary PA-RISC or Intel Itanium processors. Perhaps just as well since IBM currently trails HP and Sun in the worldwide server market.

Big Blue did not announce detailed specifications, price or availability of any of the new servers however.