Sun's UltraSPARC chip details roll out

Sun Microsystems will update its processor roadmap Tuesday, providing more information on the company's transition from its UltraSPARC III processors to the next generation UltraSPARC IV processors.

In a chip roadmap provided ahead of the Tuesday briefing at Sun's San Francisco office, the company shows the UltraSPARC III being phased out as it reaches 1.2GHz and being replaced by the UltraSPARC IV at that time. Sun currently sells 900MHz UltraSPARC IIIs across much of its server line with some systems using 1.05GHz chips. The company is expected to sell both the UltraSPARC III and UltraSPARC IV chips side by side for some time, according to separate internal documents obtained by IDG News Service in May. The Sun documents obtained in May show the UltraSPARC IV will be built with copper interconnect technology and a 0.13-micron manufacturing process. The information also shows that the UltraSPARC IV chips will arrive between the first and second quarter of 2003 at a speed of 1.2GHz and rise to 2.0GHz in late 2004.

Sun will not come out with its UltraSPARC V chip until the early part of 2005, according to the May roadmaps. That chip will appear first at 1.8GHz and reach 3.0GHz near the end of its life. Sun could boost the speed of the UltraSPARC V beyond 3.0GHz if customer interest warrants the move, said Sue Kunz, director of product marketing for Sun's processor products group, in a May interview. Sun plans to build the UltraSPARC V on a 0.10-micron manufacturing process, the documents show.

More information on Sun's other midrange UltraSPARC IIIi and UltraSPARC IVi chips is expected to be provided at the Tuesday briefing. In the more recent documents, Sun shows that it will provide several versions of these chips targeted at different parts of the hardware market.

The company will also update information on its lower end UltraSPARC IIe line of chips at the briefing. Release dates are not yet available for the IIIi, IVi or IIe chips.

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