Sun Microsystems Introduces Breakthrough UltraSPARC T1 Processor With CoolThreads Technology, Setting a New Industry Standard for Performance, Innovation

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Nov. 14 -- Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ:SUNW) today announced the introduction of the UltraSPARC(R) T1(TM) -- formerly known as "Niagara." The world's first high-performance, energy efficient processor will debut in a new line of breakthrough Sun Fire(TM) servers before the end of 2005. Using patented CoolThreads(TM) chip multi-threading technology that leverages the threaded nature of Solaris(TM) 10, the world's most advanced operating system, the breakthrough chip is the world's first Eco-responsible processor: research shows that UltraSPARC T1 processor performance could eliminate the number of Web servers in the world by half, slashing power requirements and having the same effect in reducing carbon dioxide emissions as planting one million acres of trees.(1)

In an era, where most processors use 150 watts, each SPARC-based CoolThread processor uses less than half the energy of Intel Xeon or IBM Power processors at just 70 watts -- consumption closer to that of many household light bulbs. This new processor offers unparalleled transactional throughput and is designed to save customers millions of dollars on skyrocketing datacenter power, cooling and space costs.

"It's time the technology industry took a stand -- tripling your datacenter performance shouldn't mean tripling your power bill and needing more coal fired power plants," said Jonathan Schwartz, President and Chief Operating Officer, Sun Microsystems. "It's becoming more obvious by the day that extreme efficiency is good for the environment, and good for business -- there are proofpoints everywhere, from hybrid auto companies that can't keep up with demand to fuel efficient aircraft dominating the marketplace. Customers want this same Eco-responsibility in their datacenters. Our UltraSPARC T1 systems deliver radical performance improvement, without the sticker shock of energy costs associated with IBM's POWER-based systems."

32 Systems on One SPARC-based Chip
A breakthrough in microprocessing, the UltraSPARC T1 processor features SPARC-based CoolThreads technology and a revolutionary eight cores -- each having four threads -- for a total of 32 threads that work simultaneously so many tasks are performed in parallel with no waiting. The chip saves energy, while increasing system throughput and employs Sun's radical CMT processor architecture to keep pace with the multi-threaded application environment of the Internet.

Breakthroughs Unique in the UltraSPARC T1 Processor:
-- First massively-threaded processor with 32 systems on a 90 nanometer die: akin to a 9.6 Ghz chip, its eight cores at 1.2 Ghz gives Sun a tremendous advantage over the competition;
-- First to put the rack on a chip: Internal communications tasks right on the chip means less metal to move across for better energy efficiency and higher performance;
-- First to put four memory controllers on a chip -- which routes data between the processing cores and the memory -- allowing data to be transferred into the chip as fast as it can be processed;
-- Only processor to deliver industry-leading performance at lowest power consumption: Traffic flow is increased due to minimal memory latency. Because each individual UltraSPARC T1 core is simpler, it generates less heat -- using less than 70 watts;
-- From threaded software to threaded chips: Marrying the processor and the system design yields the highest throughput. Get the most out of the world's best multi-threaded software architectures with no recompile. Using Sun(TM) Studio 11, the convergence of all three of these innovative technologies (Solaris 10, Java(TM) and UltraSPARC T1 with CoolThreads) add up to one innovation;
-- Best Security: Improves system security while delivering 10x the throughput via crypto acceleration (compared with competitive processors) and runs secure applications faster than competitive processors. UltraSPARC T1 uses lower compute cycles to do the same amount of crypto operations. Processes crypto operations using as little as 5% of CPU capacity compared with Xeon which requires 33% and POWER5+ which uses 50%.(2)

"Five years ago, our engineers realized the constraints of current processor design and went back to the drawing board in developing the CoolThreads technology. This resulting SPARC-based innovation is as significant as RISC processors and could have a similar impact as Java has had on the market," said David Yen, executive vice-president, Sun Microsystems Scalable Systems Group.

UltraSPARC T1 - The First Processor for Eco-Responsible Computing
The impact on our environment is real: If half of the entry servers sold in the last three years were replaced with UltraSPARC T1 processors, over 11 million tons of CO2 emissions, or the equivalent of that emitted by about 1,000,000 SUVs, would be eliminated each year.(3)

Sun customer Rene Wienholtz, CIO of STRATO Rechenzentrum AG adds, "Our energy consumption usage continues to rise, due to the internal and external growth. Internal means that the existing customers use more of their allotted resources or are upgrading to a bigger product package. The external growth is given by the number of new customers we get every month. We are spending over a million dollars per year just to keep up with the demand of the datacenter and we're running out of space. Sun's new chip will help prevent us from having to build a costly new datacenter, saving time and money."

With rising global gas and energy prices, the problem of energy consumption in today's datacenters is both economic and environmental (4):
-- 80% of all datacenters are constrained by heat and power;
-- Hardware heat load density has more than quadrupled over the past five years;
-- 40% need to upgrade their HVAC;
-- Over 50% of datacenters register above-average temperatures.

"With the introduction of this breakthrough discovery, Sun is sending a message to the industry that the problems associated with power and cooling are just as important as keeping up with performance," said Vernon Turner, group vice president and general manager of IDC's Enterprise Computing.

System Availability
Sun plans to begin shipping the new line of Sun Fire servers with CoolThreads before the end of the year.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
A singular vision -- "The Network Is The Computer"(TM) -- guides Sun in the development of technologies that power the world's most important markets. Sun's philosophy of sharing innovation and building communities is at the forefront of the next wave of computing: the Participation Age. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the Web at Subscribe to Sun newswire at

NOTE: Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, Solaris, Java, Sun Studio, CoolThreads, T1 and The Network Is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All SPARC trademarks are used under license and are trademarks or registered trademarks of SPARC International, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Products bearing SPARC trademarks are based upon an architecture developed by Sun Microsystems, Inc.


(1) Discover Magazine Vol 26 No. 08 August 2005, >

(2) Based on internal crypto benchmarks

(3) Based on internal calculations. See for more information.

(4) Based on internal calculations. See for more information.

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