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Sun releases low end kit – Opteron box on the way

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Sun Microsystems has released several new low-end systems hoping to keep up pressure on rivals with low pricing on 64bit gear.

Before jumping into the new kit, however, we thought it appropriate to deliver an update on an as of yet unannounced system. Sources have confirmed that Sun will ship an Opteron-based workstation. Details are still limited, but the system appears to be a two processor workstation set for delivery "fairly soon," according to one source.

We snuck onto an online chat Sun CEO Scott McNealy was holding with users during the Sun Network conference to pose the Opteron question after noticing the company's strong support for an Opteron system from Boxx Technologies.

Here's the transcript.

Q: I see you've been very interested in the Boxx Technologies Opteron workstation. Can we expect to see an Opteron workstation from Sun?

Scott McNealy: Never say never... but we have nothing on the price list today. We are porting Solaris to Opteron though to take advantage of that architecture in the market.

Executives are clearly staying quiet on the Opteron front, but sources who have been briefed on the system by Sun assure us that the company will join IBM as major OEM Opteron backers.

Now back to the new kit.

The front-runner in the product launch is the four processor V440 server. This box fits in underneath the existing V480 but has a lower price tag. The V440 starts at $9,995 with two UltraSPARC IIIi processors and 4GB of memory.

The V440 supports less memory, has a slower system bus and less Level 2 cache than the V480, but Sun thinks the low price will trouble Dell, HP and IBM.

Sun will also start shipping 1.20GHz UltraSPARC III chips with the larger V880 server - up from 1.05GHz

Along with the V440, Sun is releasing the V250 tower system. Sun had largely pulled away from selling tower systems during the boom as service providers tended to pick up thin rack-mount servers. Now Sun is saying that EMEA and Asia/Pac resellers are requesting tower systems to outfit branch and remote offices.

The V250 ships with two UltraSPARC IIIi processors and can hold close to 1TB of internal storage. It starts at $2,995.

Last but not least Sun has finally released the Sun Blade 1500 workstation. This system also ships with the UltraSPARC IIIi chip and starts at $2,995.

The system has been lurking in the channel since June, but Sun took its sweet time announcing the kit.

The larger Sun Blade 2500 is still hovering in Sun labs somewhere. The company won't say when this product will arrive, but sources indicate that engineering troubles have delayed its release.

Reg readers have chastised us for announcing these two workstations so early, but we place full blame on Sun. We saw the kit on channel Web sites with our own eyes and even made progress putting in an order. When asked what the delays with the systems were, an executive said he did not want to go down that line of questioning. ®

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