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Sun Microsystems officially released details about its Sun UltraSPARC T1 processor with four, six or eight cores and CoolThreads technology that allows executing up to four threads on a single core. The new product boasts high performance and relatively low power consumption, according to Sun. Furthermore, the chip may provide foundation for future UltraSPARC processors.

Power and Cooling As Important As Performance, Sun Says

“With the introduction of this breakthrough discovery, Sun is sending a message to the industry that the problems associated with power and cooling are just as important as keeping up with performance,” said Vernon Turner, group vice president and general manager of market research firm IDC enterprise computing group.

Sun UltraSPARC T1 processors feature either 4, 6 or 8 cores each of which feature 16KB instruction cache and 8KB data cache and operate at 1.0GHz or 1.20GHz depending on the model. The chips integrate 3MB of unified level-two cache as well as 4 memory channels that support PC2-4300 (DDR2 533MHz) memory with up to 4 memory modules per controller. The UltraSPARC T1 is capable of processing up to 32 threads on 8 6-stage pipelines simultaneously, according to Sun Microsystems. All cores are connected to memory and the I/O subsystem through a 134GB/s crossbar switch.

Even though the chip features 8 cores, all of them are based on the standard SPARC v9 implementation which delivers binary compatibility with previous generation of Sun systems and Solaris software.

The new microprocessors by Sun Microsystems are produced using 90nm 9-layer copper production technology at Texas Instruments. The chips are expected to have 72 watt typical consumption and 79 watt peak power consumption and also implement throttling measures (disabling cores/threads) if temperature increases due to fan failures or other problems.

Eco-Responsible Processors Set for Year End Availability

Due to low power consumption compared to Intel Xeon and IBM Power processors, Sun calls its UltraSPARC T1 as eco-responsible processor capable of delivering high performance at low-power consumption.

“It’s time the technology industry took a stand - tripling your datacenter performance shouldn't mean tripling your power bill and needing more coal fired power plants,” said Jonathan Schwartz, president and chief operating officer, Sun Microsystems. “It’s becoming more obvious by the day that extreme efficiency is good for the environment, and good for business – there are proof-points everywhere, from hybrid auto companies that can’t keep up with demand to fuel efficient aircraft dominating the marketplace. Customers want this same Eco-responsibility in their datacenters. Our UltraSPARC T1 systems deliver radical performance improvement, without the sticker shock of energy costs associated with IBM’s POWER-based systems”.

Sun plans to begin shipping the new line of Sun Fire servers with CoolThreads before the end of the year.

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