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Sun pours Niagara II all over Great Lakes

Huron and Michigan revealed

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Exclusive It's all a gush in Sun Microsystems' low-end SPARC server business with code-names flowing toward El Reg at speed. Last week, we brought you the details on Niagara II, and this week we bring you Michigan and Huron.

It only took a hack who spent some time in Chicago to figure out the naming scheme for Sun's upcoming line of Niagara-based servers. Sun borrowed the Great Lakes for its new systems code-named Erie and Ontario that were put up for sale last week. The follow ons for these systems - Michigan and Huron - are due out in the second quarter of 2007 with the arrival of Niagara II, The Register has learned.

The 1U Michigan box will replace the 1U Erie system and boast twice as much memory support - up to 64GB. Huron will be the 2U replacement for Ontario and also double the memory support, stretching up to 128GB.

As we wrote before, the Niagara II chip will still have eight cores just like Niagara I but will support up to 64 software threads instead of 32. It should arrive at 1.4GHz or greater and have one floating point unit per core instead of one for the entire chip as is the case with Niagara I.

As expected, Sun is still in the early design stages with the Niagara II-based boxes, but it has set some clear goals. For one, Sun hopes to build a new service processor onto the systems' motherboard instead of having a separate card as it does today.

In addition, Sun hopes to keep the new kit in the same power consumption envelope as current gear but that could be difficult given Niagara IIs support for fully-buffered DIMMs. Each FB DIMM adds anywhere between 3 and 5 watts.

On the networking front, Sun looks to be using a pair of 10G XAUI ports for 10 Gig-E support and will then include four PCI-E slots for add-in cards. Sun will likely also put four gigabit Ethernet ports on the upcoming boxes.

While Niagara II is said to provide two-way support, Sun does not appear to have very concrete plans for such a box. The Huron and Michigan designs remain one-ways. ®

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