Sun cracks 1GHz with new chips

Sun Microsystems' UltraSparc III chips have broken the 1GHz speed barrier.

Sun Microsystems' UltraSparc III chips have broken the 1GHz speed barrier.

Sun claims that its latest benchmark results show the UltraSparc III Cu 1050 processor running at 1.05GHz. The new chips are 17% faster than those currently shipping in Sun servers.

Sun's entire server line has been upgraded with 900MHz UltraSparc III chips. The company also started shipping midrange servers equipped with the 900MHz chips in November.

Sun's main rival in the server market, IBM, has a large performance lead over its rivals. The company is shipping Power4 processors running at either 1.1GHz or 1.3GHz in its high-end servers, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst with Insight 64. While it has fallen behind the competition, Sun should be able to hold on to customers, he said.

"To a large extent, people who are already using Solaris will find that upgrading to new versions of the chip is always going to be easier than shifting everything over to [IBM's] AIX operating system," Brookwood said. "Sun is working to keep its current customer set happy and make sure the customers don't have a reason to move."

However, both Sun and Hewlett-Packard are still lagging behind IBM's latest chips. "IBM absolutely shattered everything when they came out with the Power4."

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