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On Monday Sun Microsystems continued to express its interest in AMD’s forthcoming x86-64 Opteron processors for servers and powerful workstations, saying that the IA64 chips will hardly ever be successful at all. At the same time, the company announced its intentions to launch another series of entry-level x86 servers based on Intel Xeon and Intel Pentium 4 processors.

According to eWeek, Sun Microsystems has no plans to support Linux or Solaris on Intel Itanium systems, but it is evaluating AMD's upcoming Opteron processors. Sun claims that its clients also do not indicate the desire to go with IA64, but are really interested in AMD Opteron processors essentially because of its 32-bit compatibility, a feature that the Itanium CPUs practically lack. Native x86 support partly erodes the necessity to get new applications for the new platform.

But while Opteron processors are still in AMD’s garage in Sunnyvale, Sun Microsystems needs to offer its clients fast and powerful x86 servers. Reportedly, the company will expand its entry-level product lineup beyond the current LX50 machines with new 1-way or 2-way systems based on the Pentium 4 or the Xeon processors with clock-speeds from 2.50 to 3.0GHz. Although the newer parts will be rather cheap and will compete with Dell’s offerings, for example, Sun is not going to stop supporting its SPARC platform.

Sun Microsystems seems to be really interested in Opteron, however, has not yet issued officially any actual plans about its utilization in future servers from the company. I am pretty sure that Sun will offer Opteron-based machines some day, but there is a question, whether Sun plans to use AMD Opteron because it is a powerful chip that can provide enough power for today’s and tomorrow’s applications, or because Sun simply does not want to give a chance for IA64?

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