This week Dell released an upgraded version of its PowerEdge 400SC server for small- and medium-size businesses. The new server comes with a Pentium 4 chipset running at 3.2GHz with an 800MHz system bus and up to 4GB of memory. Prior to the upgrade, this particular server came with a 533MHz or 400MHz system bus. Basically, the new server is optimized for use as a file or print server in a small office setting.
The base machine is priced at $499, but is available on the company's direct sales website for $374 this week. For a limited time an introductory deal includes a free processor upgrade to the next highest clock speed, which normally costs $99. Dell is also offering a 120GB, 72K RPM IDE disk drive at half price as an add-on for $85 and a 50 percent discount on a redundant array of independent disks (RAID) controller.
Dell contends that the PowerEdge 400SC is one of the first servers from a major manufacturer to feature an 800 MHz front side bus and still cost less than $500. Neil Hand, Dell product croup director of marketing, said the Texas-based computer maker has created a perfect server that suits small-business computing needs.
"Our SMB customers tell us that to be competitive they need the fastest technology at the lowest price," Hand said. "By delivering industry firsts in performance features, the PowerEdge 400SC provides customers with plenty of computing power so they can stay focused on growing their business."
The server's compact pedestal chassis and intuitive setup tools enable small organizations with little or no IT staff to easily replace a desktop-based network with their first server. The tower chassis has room for two disk drives, with either IDE or small computer system interface (SCSI) units supported.
Liem Nguyen, Dell spokesperson, said the PowerEdge 400SC's performance features and low price make it ideally suited for the file/print and network infrastructure applications of a small office, growing business or a remote office.
"It's especially appropriate for small businesses that are purchasing their first server, or are transitioning from a desktop-based network to a client-server network," Nguyen said.
The PowerEdge 400SC is available immediately with factory installation of Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server 2003 or Red Hat Linux. Additional services include Dell's complete networking assessment, installation, training and on-site support. These services are designed to help small businesses setup and manage their networks and add on to the expense of the base unit.
For example, the The PowerEdge 400SC with a Pentium 4, 2.8GHz chip, 1GB of memory, 120GB of RAID protected disk, a 16X DVD drive, a license to Windows Server 2003, and three year's of on-site tech would cost over $3,000.
Like Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and others, Dell has been actively courting small- and medium-size businesses over the past few years. Historically, many of these smaller companies bought computers from regional resellers or at retail outlets. But more and more major players are driving server prices down for small businesses. According to research from IDC, Dell was No. 1 in the SMB market for U.S. server shipments in the first quarter of the year.
With the upgrade to its PowerEdge 400SC lineup, Dell will likely maintain its position as the SMB server market leader at least for the near-term.