Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Mar 2007 22:24 UTC
Oracle and SUN Sun Microsystems has launched a new business unit to sell its Sparc processors, a return to an idea it had dropped years ago. David Yen, currently executive vice president of storage but previously in charge of Sun's Sparc work, will lead the new group and retain his executive VP status, the company said Thursday.
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SPARC's dead Jim
by Cloudy on Wed 28th Mar 2007 01:39 UTC
Cloudy
Member since:
2006-02-15

Time to move on.

The economies of scale have made it impossible for Sun to be able to compete with Intel in the processor business. Intel has the entire market range from embedded to massive covered, and they've got better competitors than Sun against them in every market.

Reply Score: 5

RE: SPARC's dead Jim
by phgt on Wed 28th Mar 2007 01:41 in reply to "SPARC's dead Jim"
phgt Member since:
2006-09-16

If AMD can give Intel a run for their money, why not Sun?

Edited 2007-03-28 01:42

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: SPARC's dead Jim
by Cloudy on Wed 28th Mar 2007 01:48 in reply to "RE: SPARC's dead Jim"
Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

Because AMD is competing head-to-head in a clone market. Customers can leverage all of the x86 based expertise towards an AMD system.

Sun is competing with a product without the same level of third party support.

Besides, it's in Intel's (anti-trust) interest to leave AMD alive. No reason to do that with Sun.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: SPARC's dead Jim
by chekr on Wed 28th Mar 2007 02:38 in reply to "SPARC's dead Jim"
chekr Member since:
2005-11-05

SPARC's dead

Please enlighten me as to why Sparc is dead?

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: SPARC's dead Jim
by Cloudy on Wed 28th Mar 2007 03:02 in reply to "RE: SPARC's dead Jim"
Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

It costs somewhere between 300 and 500 million dollars to do the R&D for a new processor, if you want to stay competitive with Intel.

Intel can afford this because they tend to sell 100s of millions of each new chip so the cost the R&D adds to the part is 3 or 4 dollars.

Sun can't afford to do it because even if they're doing 1/10 of Intel's market share, they have to add 30 or 40 dollars to the price of a chip.

The exact numbers were different 10 years ago when HP got out of the processor business and sold the wide word architecture to Intel as a basis for Itanic, but at that time HP was the #2 computer maker in the world and couldn't make money competing against Intel.

Sun's a much smaller company and has an even worse position with respect to competing with Intel. They're about where Intergraph was in '89, except that unlike Intergraph, they don't have the option of dropping their own processor and going to using Intel, er, wait, they've already started doing that. . .

Sun's dead Jim.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: SPARC's dead Jim
by crystall on Wed 28th Mar 2007 09:47 in reply to "SPARC's dead Jim"
crystall Member since:
2007-02-06

The economies of scale have made it impossible for Sun to be able to compete with Intel in the processor business.

Sun has no intention to compete in the general-purpose processor market Intel is in. Their offerings are geared mostly around the Niagara line which are well suited for network gear. That's the high-end of the embedded market where the most prominent players are Freescale, Marvell, etc...

Intel has the entire market range from embedded to massive covered, and they've got better competitors than Sun against them in every market.

Not true. In the last few years Intel has done everything it could to focalize on their core business, that involved also exiting completely the embedded market:

http://www.techspot.com/news/22036-intel-sells-xscale-to-marvell-fo...

Intel never enjoyed much success there anyway mostly because the embedded market requires a degree of per-customer customization which is completely opposed to Intel philosophy of large scale production.

That said Sun has profundly changed the way they deal with chip design which is leading to huge savings, Niagara is a prime example for that. Their move to massive multi-threaded design and de-emphasis on clock speed turned made their new designs (including Rock) much simpler than the previous ones. Using replicated elements and fully synthesized logic (apart from memories) has cut significantly verification costs as well as time required to do it.

To cut mask costs (which are becoming huge) during the design process they also started verifying single components indipendently reducing the number of respins needed to get a working chip.

This doesn't mean that Sun will take over Intel, or any other player in the market, nor that they will be successful but they are certainly in a better shape compared with years of overambitious designs getting canned one after the other.

Finally this move was probably also prompted by their need to move to other fabs in the future for their processors as TI (quietly) announced that they would stop developing logic processes after the 45nm node.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: SPARC's dead Jim
by Cloudy on Wed 28th Mar 2007 17:04 in reply to "RE: SPARC's dead Jim"
Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

[p]Not true. In the last few years Intel has done everything it could to focalize on their core business, that involved also exiting completely the embedded market:[/p]

Do not assume that Intel sold Xscale to Marvell as a way of exiting the embedded market place. It was not that. It was a way of of exiting the ARM business so that they could concentrate their embedded strategy on their own low power chips, as they've recently announced.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: SPARC's dead Jim
by ahmetaa on Wed 28th Mar 2007 18:32 in reply to "SPARC's dead Jim"
ahmetaa Member since:
2005-07-06

i think Niagara 2 has:
- 8 core 64 threads .. Intel has fake 4 cores
- 2x 10 gbit ethernet embedded
- embedded Hardware encryption, random nuber generation (think of out of the box SSL acceleration)
- better power usage.
- embedded memory management. (ok AMD has it..)

this makes niagara 2 a very solid SERVER chip against whatever intel-AMD throws at least for the incoming years. the embedded stuff makes the server design less complicated although it has the draw back of pluggability problems.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: SPARC's dead Jim
by Cloudy on Thu 29th Mar 2007 04:12 in reply to "RE: SPARC's dead Jim"
Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

this makes niagara 2 a very solid SERVER chip against whatever intel-AMD throws at least for the incoming years. the embedded stuff makes the server design less complicated although it has the draw back of pluggability problems.


And who besides Sun is likely to buy a SERVER chip from Sun?

Sun can cell chips into the high end market, where there's no buyer, or the middle market, where they compete with Intel directly on Intel's strengths, or the low end market, which they know nothing about, and which is full of established players.

Reply Parent Score: 2