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Sun to replace excuses with loads of Opteron gear

Meet the new servers

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Exclusive Sun Microsystems next week will introduce the world to its latest gamble. The hardware maker is set to dish out a number of new Opteron-based systems – some of which will be like nothing else on the market from a Tier 1. All told, Sun's grand hardware release caps off a three- to four-year effort meant to revitalize sales and make Sun hot again.

Sun, of course, hasn't dished out any specifics on the upcoming servers to reporters. It's saving the details for an event in San Francisco on Tuesday. Sun's silence, however, hasn't stopped us from digging up much of the dirt.

The most intriguing new system to arrive from Sun will be the x4500. We've been writing about this system for years using its "Thumper" code-name. As we predicted long ago, the x4500 will ship with 48 SATA drives (250-500GB), two Opteron sockets, 10 hot swap fans, two half-height PCI cards, hot-swap power supplies, four Gigabit Ethernet ports and a SATA backplane with the requisite 48 HDD connections.

Sun has leaked out a few of these boxes to select customers with 2.4GHz dual-core Opteron 280s inside.

This server was originally designed by Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim at his start-up Kealia. It has taken Sun ages to get the product to market, which is mostly a result of Solaris work (the ZFS file system) that needed to be completed.

Sun will pitch this system as a high-performing media server type box that obviously has an humungous amount of storage in a 4U case.

With 16GB of memory and 12TB of storage, the system starts at $33,000, according to a price list obtained by The Register. It then ranges up to $70,000 for 24TB of storage, and Sun will do big customers a deal on a x4500 10-pack, selling 24TB systems for $470,000.

Next up, customers can expect to see Sun's new line of Opteron-based blades. Sun has full-height blades code-named Andromeda and half-height blades code-named Constellation.

Specifics on the blades have been harder to come by, although Sun's latest price lists show a new Sun Blade X8000 chassis and Sun Blade X8400 server. One Sun customer claimed that the new chassis will be 10U, but we're seeing a 19U monster on Sun's price list for $5,000.

Sun looks to be selling the four-socket X8400 with 870, 875 and 885 Series Opteron chips from AMD at prices ranging from $14,600 to $33,000.

Sun is also hammering away on an UltraSPARC-based blade code-named Montoya, but that system is not likely to be released next week.

The last major system to arrive from Sun will be the eight-socket X4600, which we have profiled in the past here.

Away from the x86 systems, we've spotted the V215 and V445 servers, which seem like basic upgrades to the UltraSPARC IIIi-based V210 and V440 systems.

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