UltraSPARC III hits 1.2GHz

130nm process gears up

Sun Microsystems will today announce its fastest microprocessor, the 1.2GHz UltraSPARC III.

The chip, manufactured by Texas Instruments (TI), is fabricated using a 130nm process, instead of the 150nm process used in older UltraSPARCs. This means lower power consumption (53 Watts compared to 75 Watts, when the chips start making their way into Sun servers and workstations, expected to start shipping in approximately six months.

According to US wire reports, TI is also working on a dual-core 1.2GHz chip. It is also testing a 90nm process that will be used to make UltraSPARC V chips, which are due for release early next year.

Sun is expected to flesh out its plans for the higher speed chips at its SunNetwork conference in San Francisco later today, when it will also announce a desktop computer based on Linux.

The announcements come as Sun faces stiffer competition from IBM with its Power4 chip and a week after Intel touted the benefits of Itanium 2, while simultaneously plotting to boost the performance of its lower-end PCs and servers to chip away as Sun's market for its lower end boxes. ®

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