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Sun Kindles New Version of SPARC

Wednesday Sep 21st 2005 by Amy Newman

Sun this week unveiled the UltraSPARC IV+, the latest version of its SPARC processor.

The light continued to shine in the Sun galaxy this week, as the vendor released its next-generation UltraSPARC processor.

The Sun Fire V490, V890, E2900, E4900, and E6900 servers are now shipping with the new chip. Sun chose to roll out the chip on these midrange systems, focusing on the 2- to 24-way market, Fadi Azhari, group manager for Sun's Scalable Systems Group, told ServerWatch. The new processor will eventually ship with all of the servers in the Sun Fire line, Azhari said.

Like its predecessors, the UltraSPARC IV+ processor is binary-compatible with Solaris 10 and can be installed in Sun Fire servers in an 'on-the-fly' upgrade.

Sun is claiming a five-fold performance increase for the UltraSPARC IV+ Sun Fire servers compared to UltraSPARC III systems along with a number of record-setting and competition-surpassing benchmarks.

Azhari said the 1.5 GHz processor delivers more than just a speedbump. It offers 20 percent more memory and features a new, on-board Level-2 cache and 32 GB of Level 3 cache to minimize latency. Like the previous two UltraSPARC processors, it uses Sun's uniboard technology, which enables customers to "hotplug" the new uniboards into existing systems and without swapping out their entire system. The processors are also smaller, taking advantage of 90-NM technology.

UltraSPARC IV+ beta testers include DaimlerChrysler, DoubleClick/Abacus, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Nortel, Oregon State University, and Transat, A.T.

The Sun Fire servers running the new processor are available for immediate shipment. They began shipping about three weeks ago, primarily to value-added resellers, Azhari said.

The servers are priced starting from $30,995.

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