Sun cracks 1GHz with new chips

Sun cracks 1GHz with new chips

Sun Microsystems has passed the 1GHz barrier with its UltraSparc III chips and will begin shipping workstations early next year with the speedier processors, the company announced on Monday.

The latest benchmark results from Sun show the UltraSparc III Cu 1050 processor running at 1.05GHz, the company said in a statement. The new chips are 17 per cent faster than those currently shipping in Sun servers.

Sun has gradually upgraded its entire server line with 900MHz UltraSparc III's. The company earlier added the 900MHz on its high-end Sun Fire 15K and started shipping mid-range servers with the 900MHz chips this month. The vendor is now looking to boost speeds even higher to offer users more processing power and to better compete against the likes of IBM.

Big Blue has a large performance lead over its rivals with the company shipping Power4 processors running at either 1.1GHz or 1.3GHz in its high-end servers, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst with Insight 64 in California. While it has fallen behind the competition, Sun should be able to hold on to customers with the speed bump to its chips, he said.

"To a large extent, people who are already using Sun's Solaris will find that upgrading to new versions of the chip is always going to be easier than shifting everything over to IBM's AIX operating system," Brookwood said. "Sun is working to keep its current customer set happy and making sure the customers don't have a reason to move."

Still, both Sun and Hewlett-Packard have a way to go before they can compete with IBM's latest chips, Brookwood said.

"IBM absolutely shattered everything when they came out with the Power4," he said.

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