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So begins UltraSPARC's end

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Sun Microsystems has made some subtle but significant changes to its server lineup by boosting the performance of homegrown kick and opening up Fujitsu's gear to its customers.

Sun this week revealed that its v490 and v890 midrange servers have been blessed with 1.35GHz UltraSPARC IV processors. This kit had been running on 1.2GHz processors. In the next few weeks, Sun will outfit the rest of its Sun Fire server line with the faster processors, reports IDG News Service.

The UltraSPARC IV part is a dual-core processor somewhat similar to IBM's Power4 and Power5 chips.

As a general update, Sun said it expects to put the UltraSPARC IV+ processor in servers by year end with the chip running at 1.8GHz. Sun's more radical multicore chip code-named Niagara will arrive in early 2006, and the higher-powered Rock processor will appear in servers in 2008.

Beyond upgrading its own gear, Sun is also taking care of its partner's kit.

Sun very quietly began selling SPARC-powered servers from Fujitsu via its web site. The PrimePower gear ranges from a one-way boxe on up to the 128-processor PrimePower 2500. The systems are being sold with Solaris 8 and 9 only, although Sun has started offering its own Sun Fire gear with Solaris 10.

Sun and Fujitsu last year entered into an agreement to codevelop future servers. Part of the agreement required Sun to shelve its UltraSPARC V development in favor of future SPARC64 processors from Fujitsu. The companies will begin selling servers under the Advanced Produce Line (APL) brand in 2006.

In the meantime, Sun is leading customers in certain countries to Fujitsu's PrimerPower systems. It's impossible, however, to buy this kit directly off Sun's web site. A sales call is required. ®

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