Sun Microsystems is ready to roll out a new line of blade servers and rack-mounted systems that use the latest Advanced Micro Devices Opteron processor, formerly called "Shanghai."
AMD officially released its latest quad-core Opteron processor in early November. The chip is the first AMD processor built on a 45-nanometer manufacturing process, and it came to market faster and without the problems associated with the original 65-nm, quad-core Opteron processor.
When AMD announced the new Opteron processor, several of the world's largest server and high-performance computer vendors-Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Fujitsu, Sun Microsystems and Cray-offered their support for AMD's latest chip. Dell, which is offering a total of 10 new systems, remains one of the first OEMs to use the new AMD processor, and Sun plans to officially announce its new server systems Dec. 9.
While the latest Opteron is a new processor, it fits in the same socket as previous Opteron chips, which means vendors such as Sun can quickly offer new systems by updating the firmware and installing the new microprocessors.
"It is pin-compatible, so you update the firmware and plug in the Shanghai processor and pull out the Barcelona processor or even an older Opteron processor and plug in the new one, and you're basically ready to go," said Arvie Martin, a marketing manager for Sun's x64 (x86 64-bit) systems. "It provides some investment protection for our customers."
The AMD Opteron chip is expected to compete against Intel within the high-end server space with four-socket and eight-socket systems. In September, Intel released a six-core Xeon processor and a new platform for these systems.
The new Sun systems based on the AMD Opteron processor include:
The Sun Blade X6440, a four-socket blade server that can support up to 32 DIMM (dual in-line memory module) slots. The starting price is listed as $14,105.
The Sun Blade X6240, a two-socket system that supports up to 16 DIMM slots. The starting price is listed at $3,850.
The Sun Fire X4440, a four-socket server that also supports up to 256GB of main memory. The starting price from Sun is listed at $15,745.
The Sun Fire X4600 M2, a server than can scale from two to eight sockets that can support up to 256GB of main system memory. The starting price is listed at $12,595.
The Sun Fire X4240, a two-socket server system that supports 16 DIMM slots and 128GB of main memory. The starting price is $7,245.
The Sun Fire X4140, which can scale from one to two sockets and also offers 16 DIMM slots and 128GB of main system memory. The starting price is $3,545.
The Sun Fire X2200 M2, a two-socket system that supports eight DIMM slots with each AMD processor and supports 64GB of main memory. The starting price is listed as $1,895.
After these systems enter the market this week, Sun will update its x64 line of servers with new systems based on AMD processors in January.
Editor's Note: This article was updated to clarify the number of DIMM slots the Sun Fire X2200 supports and the proper name of the Sun Fire X4600 M2.