Marking the first significant update to the SPARC line since 2007, Sun Microsystems and Fujitsu are updating their jointly developed line of servers with the SPARC64 VII. Sun and Fujitsu look to position the new processor to compete against IBM's Power processor and Intel's Itanium chip. To help them do that, SPARC64 VII will boast four cores clocked at 2.4GHz or 2.5GHz, with each core sporting two instructional threads for a total of eight per chip, and 6MB of L2 cache. SPARC64 VII will also see a die shrink from 90nm to 65nm.
With an estimated $4 billion to go around in the high-end Unix business, Sun has struggled against IBM and HP, and has had to cut employees in an attempt to offset some of the losses. Even so, Sun and Fujitsu will revamp several of their systems to support the quad-core SPARC VII, including two midrange, rack-mount systems -- the M4000 and the M5000 -- both of which support up to four and eight dual- or quad-core processors respectively. Starting price of the M4000 with a quad-core SPARC VII will check in at just under $35,000.