Sun unveils latest UltraSparc processor

Sun unveils latest UltraSparc processor


Sun Microsystems has unveiled its UltraSparc IV+ processor, previously codenamed Panther. The chip has a clock speed of 1.5GHz, not the 1.8GHz the company promised back in October of last year.

However, it is one of Sun's first UltraSparc chips to feature an on-chip memory cache which the firm claims provides a major boost in performance.

Five Sun servers will initially be powered by the new UltraSparc IV+ chip - the Sun Fire V490, V890, E2900, E4900 and E6900 models - according to vice-president of marketing at Sun's scalable systems group, Fred Kohout. The server entry-level pricing starts from $US30,995.

The new UltraSparc IV+ servers will be the same price as existing models powered by UltraSparc IV chips and feature the same level of power emission as their predecessors, Kohout said.

"We've increased performance five times over the UltraSparc III-based systems we came out with in 2001 and doubled the performance of the UltraSparc IV," Kohout said.

"We moved the level 2 [memory] cache onto the chip for better reliability and throughput, and we added a brand-new level 3 cache."

The on-chip level 2 memory cache is 2MB, while the off-chip level 3 cache is 32MB, he said.

The next version will ship with a 1.8GHz clock speed, Kohout confirmed, but he wouldn't commit to a release date.

The UltraSparc IV+ processor is the first Sun chip to be manufactured using a 90-nanometre production process.

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