Sun Unveils New 64-bit Workstation with Sun Blade 150

by Wayne Kawamoto

New entry-level 64-Bit UNIX workstation promises to boost performance by up to 63 percent in computing and 76 percent in graphics.

Sun Microsystems introduced its new price leader in 64-bit UNIX desktops, the Sun Blade 150 workstation. Featuring Sun's latest 64-bit UltraSPARC IIi processor, the Sun Blade 150 workstation promises to offer up to 76 percent performance gains over Sun's previous price-leading workstations, and cost less than half the price of comparable entry-level systems from HP.

According to the company, its Sun Blade 150 workstation's improved computing performance and memory addressability make it an ideal upgrade for software developers currently using entry-level Sun Ultra 5 or Sun Blade 100 workstations. The new workstation's improved 3D graphics performance may also makes it an excellent upgrade for Sun Ultra 10 workstation users.

The company says that the Sun Blade 150 workstation delivers twice the L2 on-chip cache memory, up to twice the 3D graphics performance, and double the storage capacity of the Sun Blade 100 workstation. Aimed at technical markets that require mission-critical stability and scalability, the Sun Blade 150 workstation's 64-bit UltraSPARC processor and 64-bit Solaris Operating Environment should deliver a powerful platform for technical computing customers, from electronic design automation (EDA) and mechanical computer-aided engineering/design (MCAE/MCAD), to scientific research, GIS and defense/government organizations.

When configured with the new Sun XVR-500 graphics accelerator, the Sun Blade 150 workstation is designed to deliver advanced workstation graphics capabilities at an affordable price, including: 16 MB of dedicated memory for texture mapping operations; 32 MB of dedicated frame buffer memory; 32-bit Z-buffer support, which provides over 250 times greater precision for three dimensional graphics compared to 24-bit architectures; and high resolution 3D display support. The XVR-500 graphics accelerator, announced in May 2002, is based on 3Dlabs' Wildcat II architecture and should deliver high-performance 3D graphics functionality and image quality, important factors for customers using MCAD, MCAE or GIS visualization applications. The advanced graphics technology should deliver up to twice the performance of the Sun Expert3D-Lite graphics card.

Some of the key features include:

  • Sun's UltraSPARC IIi processor - 550 MHz or 650 MHz processor with 512 KB on-chip L2 cache, doubling the 256 KB of the UltraSPARC IIe processor.
  • Large Memory Capacity - Up to 2 GB of addressable memory helps enable support to run complex technical applications with very large data sets.
  • Increased Internal Storage - Up to two internal 40 GB 7200-RPM EIDE hard drives provide high capacity internal storage and expansion.
  • Latest I/O technology - Four USB ports and two IEEE 1394 ports for peripherals. Customers can connect USB-based storage or supported alternative keyboards and mice to suit their preferences. IEEE 1394 helps ensure high-end digital video performance by delivering synchronized video/audio I/O.
  • Built-in Smart Card reader - Provides enhanced security for log-in and access authentication to the system.

Pricing and Availability
The Sun Blade 150 workstation base configuration includes the 550 MHz UltraSPARC IIi processor, Solaris 8 Operating Environment, 512 KB on-chip L2 cache, 128 MB SDRAM, PGX64 onboard 2D graphics, and 40 GB internal disk. It is available today starting at $1,395 list price U.S., orderable directly from Sun and authorized Sun Resellers. For more information please visit http://www.sun.com/desktop/sunblade150.

This article was originally published on Wednesday Aug 21st 2002
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