Sun Microsystems has strengthened its existing systems by releasing a new generation of UltraSparc chips while taking its server line in a new direction with Opteron-based machines.
Sun's chip, the UltraSparc 4, is a new-generation processor that uses chip multithreading technology to boost throughput and application performance at a lower price.
UltraSparc 3 users will be able to upgrade to the new chip without swapping boxes.
The UltraSparc 4 is "essentially doubling the performance in place", said Clark Masters, executive vice-president for enterprise systems at Sun.
The company also detailed pricing and upgrade costs for Sun Fire E servers based on the new chip. Prices start at $50,000 and rise to $1m, depending on configuration.
Sun has big plans for the Opteron chip, which can run 32- and 64-bit applications, and expects to release an eight-processor server.
The company is working with Advanced Micro Devices, which manufacturers the chip, to build application and tool support among third-party suppliers.
Sun will offer customers Linux and Solaris x86 operating systems on Opteron but said its servers will also be certified to run Windows. The V20z, starting at $2,800, includes its the company's Java Enterprise System.
Patrick Thibodeau writes for Computerworld
This was first published in February 2004