August 30, 2006 6:34 PM PDT

New Sun servers to use old Sun chip

Sun Microsystems is upgrading its lower-end UltraSparc-based servers--but the new systems will arrive with a chip family introduced in 2003 instead of the faster successors the company had planned.

The UltraSparc IIIi+ processor, code-named Serrano, was to be the major new feature that distinguishes three as-yet unannounced servers--the Sun Fire V215, V245 and V445--from their current UltraSparc IIIi-powered equivalents, the V210, V240 and V440. Instead, those new systems will arrive with the UltraSparc IIIi "Jalapeno" processor, which first arrived in 2003.

"The Sun Fire V215/245/445 systems will come to market with UltraSparc IIIi processors," Nick Suh, a field development manager for Sun, said during a Sun-sponsored online question-and-answer forum Wednesday.

And it's possible the IIIi+ won't arrive until mid-2007, more than a year and a half after its expected due date. Suh's comment came in response to a remark from a person identified only as "spp," who said, "The V215/245 and the V445 will be shipped without the USIIIi+ because of manufacturing/yield issues and we shouldn't expect to see them until mid-year next year." Spp's remark was labeled as a "private response for Martin," apparently meaning another forum participant, Sun product line manager Martin Shepard.

Sun's new UltraSparc T1 "Niagara" processor arrived ahead of schedule, but the UltraSparc IIIi+ hitch is a return to the bad old days for Sun processors. The company suffered multiple delays for its UltraSparc III processor, for example, which arrived years late.

Sun wasn't immediately able to respond to requests for comment.

Texas Instruments manufactures Sun's UltraSparc processors. The UltraSparc IIIi processor is built with a relatively old manufacturing process with 130-nanometer electronics elements. The IIIi+ uses a 90-nanometer process that frees up more silicon surface area, permitting an increase in high-speed cache memory from 1MB in the IIIi to 4MB in the IIIi+.

At Sun's analyst conference in February 2005, David Yen, then in charge of Sun's Sparc processors and servers, said, "Later this year we also will refresh with the IIIi+, followed by its speed bump." However, later in 2005, the company's Sparc marketing chief, Andy Ingram, said Sun was considering releasing Niagara first and pushing UltraSparc IIIi+ back, because Niagara would help Sun's business more.

The 1.75-inch-thick Sun Fire V215 and 3.5-inch-thick V245, both are variations of a dual-processor design code-named Seattle. The V445, code-named Boston, is a four-processor model 7 inches thick.

Lacking a new processor, the new systems will be distinguished chiefly by a faster input-output system. The new systems include PCI Express for input-output, a faster communications technology than the older PCI used in the V210, V240 and V440.

See more CNET content tagged:
Sun UltraSPARC IIIi, Sun UltraSPARC, Sun Fire, Sun Microsystems Inc., Sun Server

9 comments

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Suggestion for SUN
If you'd like to provide your customers with a better processor in your new machines, I've got some Pentium 3 chips lying aound that you can use. I was just going to throw them out anyway.
Posted by jswap (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Another suggestion
They should make the UltraSparc IIIi+ (2GHz?) available for Ultra 3 laptop:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.sun.com/desktop/workstation/ultra3/specs.xml" target="_newWindow">http://www.sun.com/desktop/workstation/ultra3/specs.xml</a>

It will be a reasonable update for Sparc Laptop.
Posted by kevin7603 (8 comments )
Link Flag
Get A Clue On Your Technology x86er!
Ever heard a term called "architecture"? Sun will be the Xerox of 2 years ago. Intel, on the other hand, is losing market share to AMD like dollars at a strip club. Sun is 5 years ahead of the rest in technology. Tell me, does Intel have a 64 thread/ 8 core/8 floating point single socket, green Niagara II-like processors in the works? No? That is surprising since they are about as innovative as Micorosoft. They are more like marketing companies than technology companies! Itanium anyone? Oh, it sucked! Nevermind. Take a moment to think "Why would Sun go this route?". Oh, I know why, because it makes sense from a pricing/performance standpoint for a customer niche. Maybe you should join the Intel/Microsoft marketing team. They would welcome your blind, soporific, gaming consumerist buffoonery! Send me your "Geek Squad" resume and I will walk it across the street for you to Intel!
Posted by matt_parker (52 comments )
Link Flag
Suns slogan was "the dot in dot com" what happened?
did the idiots focus too much trying to get a lawsuit on Microsoft?
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
SUN is gaining market share
Recent IDC, Gartner reports showed SUN gained server marker share while market gains of IBM, HP, Dell declined . Ouch. I thought SUN was dead.
Actually one sun observer was saying , SUN was written off by many pundits in the past and SUN cameback.
Posted by pokiri (98 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Actually SUN seems to be rising ?
I thought SUN will be dead after the 2000 dot-com burst. Recently they seem to be rising again. IDC and Gartner reported that for past quarter SUN's server market share grew while that of IBM, HP , Dell declined. SUN displaced Dell for the 3rd position. Majority of their product revenue was from
UltraSparc IV+ products. I thought SPARC was dead.
Their energy efficient niagara server also catching up well.

Hmmm. What is up with SUN ?
Posted by pokiri (98 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Show me the Money...
If there is so much improvement in SUNW, why do they operate on never ending quarterly loses and massive lay-offs. SUNW inspite of "owning" java could not make a profitable translation of its innovation. Tech-wise it will have the its "small-segment". I dont see SUN turnaround like AAPL, atleast with their current startegy.
Posted by YankeePoodle (785 comments )
Link Flag
 

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