The struggle for market share among the top Unix vendors is resulting in a performance windfall for users.
IBM has revamped its RS/6000 S70 Unix server lineup with a new, twice-as-fast processor. The company also cut prices on its older model S70 by up to 30 per cent and slashed memory prices by up to 40 per cent.
IBM's announcement of the upgrade was more than three months earlier than originally scheduled and comes at a time of intense market-share struggle with Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems.
The three vendors are locked in a close battle for market share, with each holding approximately 20 per cent of Unix revenues, according to the latest figures from research firm International Data Corporation.
Since Sun started shipping its high-performance 64-processor Ultra Enterprise last third quarter, both HP and IBM have revamped their high-end Unix lines - HP with its new V-Series, and IBM with performance-boosting upgrades to its existing processors.
In addition, HP has started sampling its next-generation PA-8500 chip and hopes to start shipping servers based on the chip later this year.
With the latest announcement, IBM has introduced the 262MHz RS64-II chip into the S70 line. It replaces a 125MHz version and comes with 8MB of cache space - double the capacity of the previous chip.