IBM says it has started shipping Linux ready eServer pSeries systems, lowering the cost for customers deploying the operating system on 64-bit processor technology.

Equipped with breakthrough POWER4 processors, IBM says the new eServer system costs less than a comparably configured Itanium 2 based system from Hewlett-Packard. IBM has a major facility in Research Triangle Park, where it is one of the largest employers.

The IBM eServer p630 offers the first pSeries configurations dedicated to Linux. The eServer p630 also supports AIX5L, IBM’s UNIX operating system, and a combination of Linux and AIX5L in logical partitions.

The eServer p630 running Linux with a POWER4 microprocessor is available for $16,827, which is 44 percent less expensive than the cost of $29,928 for a similarly configured HP rx5670 server with an Itanium 2 microprocessor running Linux.

IBM’s POWER family of microprocessors is among the most widely used in the industry and can be found in Nintendo game consoles, Apple computers and some of the world’s most powerful supercomputers.

“The new eServer p630 running Linux offers customers rock-solid, proven technology at a fraction of the cost of competitive systems,” Adalio Sanchez, general manager of IBM eServer pSeries, said in a statement. “Customers now have a choice of Linux or AIX solutions in a flexible, scalable eServer environment.”