Fujitsu Pumps Up SPARC64 Chip

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2004-06-22

Fujitsu Pumps Up SPARC64 Chip

Fujitsu Computer Systems Corp. is ramping up the speed and size of its SPARC64 processor.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., companys SPARC64 V chip has been bumped up to 1.89GHz, from a maximum frequency of 1.35GHz, and now offers 3MB of Level 2 cache rather than the current 2MB.

In addition, the new chip is being built on the 90-nanometer manufacturing process, which improves performance by enabling more transistors in the same space as those chips built via the 130-nm process.

Unix-based PrimePower servers running the enhanced chips will be released starting in the fourth quarter, according to company officials.

The chip upgrade comes less than a month after Fujitsus announcement that it and Sun Microsystems Inc. will merge their SPARC development efforts. Under the partnership, the two companies will create a new family of servers—called the Advanced Product Line, or APL—that eventually will replace Fujitsus PrimePower systems and the Sun Fire line from Sun, of Santa Clara, Calif.

For more on the pairs SPARC efforts, read "Sun, Fujitsu Light a SPARC."

The APL systems are scheduled to debut in 2006.

Sun and Fujitsu officials said the alliance will enable the companies to better compete with the likes of IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co. Sun is aiming to create a line of x86-based systems powered by Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s Opteron processor, and industry observers had questioned whether the company had the resources to do that while continuing development of its SPARC chip.

Next Page: Seeking a larger piece of the server pie.

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For its part, Fujitsu is pushing to gain a larger share of the U.S. server market. While it also sells its Intel Corp.-based Primergy systems, the company will build systems using Intels 64-bit processor.

Fujitsus SPARC64 chips, like Suns UltraSPARC processors, are based on SPARC V9 Instruction Set Architectures.

Fujitsu will continue growing its SPARC64 processor. The SPARC64 VI chips will be used in servers scaling up to 128 processors, with the companies sharing in the design and manufacturing duties.

During the 2003 Microprocessor Forum, Fujitsu Ltd. engineers predicted that the 90-nm SPARC64 would scale to over 2GHz, giving way to the 90-nm, 2.4GHz SPARC64 VI in late 2005.

Sun will continue focusing on its throughput computing strategy, which will include two new processors, Niagara—which will run 32 threads of instruction—and Rock, which will run both single- and multithreaded applications.

Mark Hachman of and ExtremeTech contributed to this report.

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