Outstanding Questions for Sun, Intel, AMD and others...

Well I don't speak for AMD, Intel or Sun for that matter but I have some comments regarding the questions here.

I'm sure it possible to make a lower electrical power Ultrasparc with less cores or slower clock or make a higher compute power version with even more cores  or faster clock, If you wanted to model or make one yourself the chip design tools and specs to do it are here.

While The  UltraSparc T1 has 8 cores and 4 threads per core giving 32 hardware threads  and no other commercially available chip comes close to it. It is more important to think of the whole system it will used in like I blogged before here, So once you see the final product you can see the reasons why the other choices were made.

If your interested in the AMD space we've used the same design criteria, and as Marc Andreessen discussed here (the numbers are here) its the most cost efficient solution.

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Comments:

Azul supports a total of 384 CPUs. Not sure why Sun can't at least match? The one other thing you didn't mention is that chip density can increase if you eliminate unneeded instructions. What would happen to the sparc design if only the instructions necessary to support a JVM were kept and all others were eliminated?

Posted by James on February 07, 2006 at 08:07 PM PST #

Hi James,

You seem mighty impressed with this Azul box, you don't work for them do you, from your blog I'm guessing it's got 16 Sockets and a die with 24 hardware threads giving 384 “CPUs” .


I say wow well done guys great technical achievement , which industry standard benchmark does it excel in? Which business application does this box do better than anything else. Which market segment is saying we must have a 384 “CPU” box it is the only cost effective way to solve our business problem. At which point I can't find any on their website or in their FAQs, so I'm a little less optimistic about their product.


So Sun has machines with 70+ sockets and dies with 32 hardware threads so I think from a technical point of view we can say that Sun has matched them and then some.

If you look Here you can see that the CoolThreads servers have won many world records most of them are java related so it's fair to say the the T1 chip is optimized for java, and as I understand chip design and JVMs it turns out that there are very few instructions that say a C complier would use that a JVM wouldn't but some instructions have been added to cores to make garbage collection easier/quicker that only a JVM would use. Having said that I'm sure a Java only T1 is something people would interested in modelling and maybe even making. You could ask the question again in the OpenSparc forum.


Posted by Robin on February 08, 2006 at 07:12 AM PST #

I can tell you that I do not work for Azul. I am an employee of a Fortune 100 enterprise who buys lots of Sun stuff...

Posted by James on February 12, 2006 at 01:43 AM PST #

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