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More details on Sun's upcoming Ultra SPARC IIIi-based workstations have emerged thanks to a generous Register reader.

As reported last week, the Sun Blade 1500 - code-named Taco - has started shipping even though Sun is yet to announce the system. The workstation costs close to $2,000 with one 1GHz UltraSPARC IIIi processor, 1GB of memory and a 80GB ATA disk.

The system has on board 10/100/1000 Mb networking support, three PCI slots and support for USB 1.1 and USB 2.0.

The larger Sun Blade 2500 can be ordered now but will not start shipping until mid-July. This system - code-named Enchilada - comes with one or two UltraSPARC IIIi chips. It supports up to 16GB of memory and all of the other goodies in the Sun Blade 1500.

A Sun Blade 2500 with one processor, 1GB of memory and a 36GB Ultra160 SCSI drive should come in around $3,000.

Sun is also expected to ship a server version of this system with its standard UltraSPARC III processor, running between 1GHz and 1.3GHz.

Sun was built on workstations, but the company has seen this market shrink in recent years. It still holds a massive market share lead in 64bit Unix workstation sales, but Xeon-based kit from the likes of Dell and IBM is a more popular choice for engineering types these days.

Users do appear excited to see how AMD's Opteron chip will shake up the workstation market. Xeon-like performance and 64bit support certainly appears to be an attractive offering. ®

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