A senior Sun executive has indicated versions of his firm’s latest server chip that aren’t fully functional could find their way into commodity servers as a cheap option. Sun’s forthcoming Niagara chip has eight cores, but the company will sell versions with six or possibly even four, the company’s top Sparc server executive said Tuesday.
Low-Spec Niagara on the Way
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2005-09-22 3:14 pmAnonymous
What chip making company produces multi-thread/multi-core chips? Er… I only know one. If the specs are close to what they’re delivering, they’re going to collapse a tier out of our datacenter, and put some serious heat on the PC guys. 4 cores * [how many threads/core] = huge compression.
2005-09-22 3:36 pmAnonymous
What chip companies produce multi-thread multi core chips?
IBM has been doing multithreading I think since RS6000, and multi core since POWER4. They’ll be doing multicore multi threading chips for the next generation of game consoles too.
HP has been doing multi core PARISCs for quite a while.
Sun has been doing multi core SPARCs for a while.
I think several ARM manufacturers are doing multi core CPUs.
AMD recently started producing multi core Opterons.
Intel has been doing multi threading for a while and recently multi core.
Several companies do multicore MIPS processors.
2005-09-23 4:04 amAnonymous
its not like those cores are functioning and taking up heat… god you actually run a data center?
2005-09-23 4:34 pmAnonymous
> What chip making company produces multi-thread/multi-core chips?
> Er… I only know one.
Indeed, Intel’s Pentium Extreme Edition 840 has two cores, each with
hyperthreading, and runs at 3.2 GHz. It’s a nice part.
Hrm? What’s that? You didn’t mean intel?
2005-09-24 6:44 amArun
Hyperthreading is a badly implemented design. Notice how most of the new chips intel ammounced resently don’t have them, or atleast I don’t remember reading anything about them having hyperthreading.
Many apps actually perform worse with hyperthreading enabled. The Pentium 840 is nowhere closed to Niagara interms of being multichip/core. The 840 is closer to the Ultrasparc IV than Niagara.
Well, this way of working hasn’t been seen much with multi-core chips, but there are plenty of equivalent examples:
The intel 486SX (long ago) was just a 486DX chip with a defect coprocessor. And the 487SX coprocessor was again just a 486DX chip with a defect main CPU, but working coprocessor.
Also, graphics chips with multiple rendering pipelines exist in various configurations. These are also just the same chips, but the cheaper ones have defect pipelines disabled.
So selling chips that only partly work (after disabling the non-functional parts) is a common way to keep prices reasonable in the chip industry.
I really hope this replaces the pitiful UltraSPARC IIi that Sun has on the SPARC low-end. The current 550 and 650 MHz offering were slow when they were released over 3 years ago. And I’m not going by clock speed either, I’m going with SPECCPU http://spec.org results.
2005-09-22 9:22 pmAnonymous
You’re right that they are slow, but they are also proven designs and low-power. For something like a DNS server for a small company, they’d be perfect. However, for a network server, Niagara is a perfect replacement.
2005-09-23 11:49 amAnonymous
No, they’re not perfect for a DNS server for a small company. A couple of dirt cheap celerons or semprons are perfect for a DNS server for a small company. And individually they would beat the bejesus out of the USIII, while costing less combined. And also providing redundancy.
2005-09-23 2:58 pmArun
The orginal poster was talking about the ultrasparc IIi’s it’s right in the subject !
2005-09-23 5:05 pmAnonymous
Actually, a SPARC with ECC RAM is better to have around than some Celerons. SPARCs have some firmware diagnostic capabilities, possibly LOM (not sure about the ultra low-end), etc. that are very useful to sys admins.
2005-09-23 8:50 amjessta
that is terrible.
you should probably be shot.
What chip making company does not do things like this? If you have to scrap all chips that have a minor defect, the good ones become way too expensive because they have to compensate for the loss.
So from a business point of view, it’s very logical to also sell those imperfect units (with one or more non-functional cores) for a lower price.
Somebody at Sun just took Economics 101, or so it seems