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Sun kills off much delayed UltraSPARC IIIi+ chip

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Sun Microsystems has turned to half-truths where its UltraSPARC IIIi+ processor is concerned. The company has cancelled the product, once slated for 2005, in favor of concentrating on the UltraSPARC T1 - aka Niagara - processor line.

The cancellation business is news to us. Fadhi Azhari, a processor marketing manager at Sun, told us earlier this month that the UltraSPARC IIIi+ had seen "no delays." We thought that a stretch at the time, since Sun had originally planned to ship the chip in the later half of 2005. Now, however, we realize how much of a stretch the "no delay" claim really was.

"We canceled it last fiscal year to focus on the ramp (up) of UltraSparc IV+, Niagara and Niagara 2," Sun's server chief John Fowler told CNET today. "The big push in the volume area is Niagara 2."

Apparently you have to ask the right people to get a straight answer.

Last month, we exposed Sun's decision to do little more than perform basic upgrades with the upcoming Sun Fire V215, V245 and V445 servers. Sun will continue to rely on the UltraSPARC IIIi processor in these boxes and add support for PCI Express.

Delays and cancellations are nothing new for Sun's UltraSPARC group. The chip unit, however, has received a boost from the hot-selling UltraSPARC T1 chip and looks to gain ground on the competition when the Rock processor line ships in 2008. ®

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