Sun unveils new multi-core chip

Sun Microsystems earlier this week entered the commodity microprocessor market with the UltraSparc T2, a multiple system chip that can handle a diverse range of workloads, including networking, high-performance computing and storage.

Formerly known as the Niagara 2 project, the UltraSparc T2 is comprised of eight cores and eight threads per core. Each thread is capable of running its own operating system, allowing Sun to offer a 64-way system on a single chip, company officials said.

In addition, Sun is extending chip multithreading into areas of use beyond servers to routers, switches, network devices, medical imaging and industrial printing, said David Yen, executive vice president of microelectronics for Sun.

Available for sale separate from Sun's own systems, the UltraSparc T2 combines key functions of multiple systems such as virtualization, processing, networking, security, floating point units and accelerated memory access, company officials said. Integrating these elements on a single chip reduces cost and increases performance, reliability and energy efficiency, they added.

The chip supports the massively threaded, open source Sun Solaris operating system and other real-time operating systems as well as future versions of Ubuntu Linux. Sun will provide the processor design to the free and open source community through General Public Licenses, company officials said.

The UltraSparc T2 is available in production quantities with prices starting below $1,000 and licensing options open for derivative works.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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