T2: Sun's new UltraSparc

Aug 09, 2007

Sun Microsystems has just launched the UltraSPARC T2 CPU, which easily outstrips its T1 predecessor performance-wise.

Early in the new millennium many major server manufacturers shifted to Intel or AMD. Sun itself actually used these CPUs in many of its models, leading augurs to prophesy the imminent demise of the established SPARC CPU. But in fact the opposite has happened: Sun's UltraSPARC T1 CPU which was launched in 2005 provided excellent performance and energy efficiency thanks to chip multi-threading with up to parallel 32 threads on eight cores.

Now the successor has arrived: the UltraSPARC T2 CPU is said to have twice the performance of its predecessor at the same clock speed. The T2 supports 64 parallel threads, each of which consumes less than two watts. Applications that lend themselves to parallelization, network applications, workload computing and virtualization will all benefit from this boost.

At the same time, the chip not only integrates a fast memory interface, a floating point unit and I/O interfaces, but also network interfaces and crypto units. The vendor now sees more scope for deploying the CPU in routers, switches or telecommunications technology, besides servers.

The new CPU, which will be GPLd just like its predecessor looks likely to be available to server manufacturers for less than US$ 1000 per unit by the end of this year.

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