New chip could cut Web server use by half

By Control Engineering Staff November 22, 2005

Santa Clara, CA —A new server chip claimed to deliver high-performance and energy efficiency has been announced by Sun Microsystems . UltraSPARC T1 (formerly Niagara) will debut in a new line of Sun Fire servers before the end of 2005. Described by Sun as “a breakthrough chip” and “the world’s first Eco-responsible processor,” the company reports that research (published in Discover magazine in August) shows the chip’s performance could halve the number of Web servers in the world, slashing power requirements and having the same effect in reducing carbon dioxide emissions as planting a million acres of trees.

The processor uses patented CoolThreads chip multi-threading technology that leverages the threaded nature of the Solaris 10 operating system. It uses just 70W, under half the energy of Intel Xeon or IBM Power processors, with consumption equivalent to a household light bulb.

“It’s becoming more obvious by the day that extreme efficiency is good for the environment, and good for business,” said Jonathan Schwartz, president and COO at Sun. “There are proofpoints everywhere, from hybrid auto companies that can’t keep up with demand to fuel efficient aircraft dominating the marketplace. Customers want this same Eco-responsibility in their datacenters.”

The new processor features SPARC-based CoolThreads technology and eight cores—each having four threads—for 32 threads that work simultaneously so that many tasks are performed in parallel with no waiting. The chip saves energy while increasing system throughput. It uses Sun’s CMT processor architecture to keep pace with the multi-threaded application environment of the Internet. Click here to read more.

—Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jeanine Katzel, senior editor,