Details of a new server, called the Sun Fire v1280, were available yesterday on http://sunsolve.sun.com, which provides technical information for Sun users.
A maintenance manual for the Sun Fire v1280 said the server would hold as many as 12 UltraSPARC III processors running at 900MHz and include support for some of Sun's most sophisticated partitioning and system reconfiguration tools.
Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff said that bringing some of its top technology to less expensive systems is a natural move for Sun as it works to keep pace with rival IBM.
A Sun spokeswoman declined to provide the release date or pricing for the Sun Fire v1280, saying the company does not comment on unannounced products.
Both Sun and IBM have worked to bring many of the high-end features found on their most expensive Unix servers further down their product lines to cater for customers are looking for the best possible technology in lower-cost systems.
Sun has worked on marrying its high-end and low-end products lines for some time, according to a source familiar with the company's plans.
The Sun Fire v1280 - codenamed Lightweight 8 - has been delayed on several occasions, the source said, and the online user manual for the product is dated September 2002. The company has struggled to bring the motherboards of its high-end systems down into the chassis of its lower end V880 server, the source added.
The Sun spokeswoman said the company planned to remove information about the product until its launch date.