Monday, July 17, 2006

Niagara 2 chip - up and running already

CNET's news.com is reporting that Sun's Niagara 2 chip boots Solaris. This is at least 3 months ahead of schedule, and signals that Sun's throughput computing initiative is working well.


Niagara 2 will have 8 chip "cores" each running 8 threads (tasks). Niagara 1 runs the same number of cores, but only 4 threads per core. Competitors like HP and IBM have criticized Niagara 1 for its slow performance at floating point calculations. But Niagara 2 will have much faster floating point capabilities - with a floating point unit for each of its 8 cores.


The bigger news from a sales point of view is that a server with two Niagara 2 chips is planned. This would run a huge 128 threads (i.e. tasks) simultaneously. When set to work on web tier workloads, this specification simply blows away the competition - especially when you take the power consumption (70 watts per chip) and small size into account.


Sun's R&D is certainly shining!

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