The UltraSPARC T2 Processor: More of Everything, Please

Sun officially announced the UltraSPARC T2 processor today. Technical specifications, datasheets, etc. are available here.

The question is, who should care?

Fortunately, this is a question easily answered. :-)

Here is my unordered list of who I believe should pay attention to this announcement:

    Customers who like the T1, but need more horsepower. The T2 has 64 threads on a single chip, up from the T1's 32 threads. Couple a T2-based system with our SPARC virtualization technology (LDOMS) and you'll have quite a nice consolidation platform.

    Customers who like the idea of the T1, but who have workloads with floating point requirements. The T1 has one floating point unit on the chip to serve all 32 threads. The T2 has EIGHT floating point units--one per core. I expect some HPC customers with throughput requirements will find the UltraSPARC-T2 very interesting. Note the SPEC estimates cited in the announcement materials (estimated SPECint_rate2006: 78.3, estimated SPECfp_rate2006: 62.3.[\*]) Lots more performance data here.

    Customers who have significant networking requirements in addition to their throughput computing needs. The T2 comes with integrated, on-chip 10 GbE.

    Anyone who needs beefy crypto performance. Yep, our chip guys managed to cram per-core dedicated crytpography functions onto the chip as well.

    Educators and entrepreneurs who will be interested in using the UltraSPARC T2 design as the basis of their work. We expect to release the T2's design under open source, much as we've done already with the UltraSPARC T1. We've kickstarted some innovation with T1 and I expect to see even more interest with T2.

    And, last, anyone who enjoys saying things like this (you know who you are):

      Woo-eee, look at this 1 Gbyte flash drive I just bought for $10!

      I remember when we bought our first Fujitsu Eagle 1 Gbyte hard disk in the late 1980s. It cost $10K, fit in a 19" rack, and needed two people to lift it!

    Soon (before the end of this year) you'll be able to buy a T2-based system and say something like this:

      Woo-eee, look at this 1RU (1 rack-unit = 1.75 inches) server with 64 hardware threads, integrated 10 GbE networking, and onboard crypto I just bought!

      I remember when we bought that 64-CPU Starfire system back in the mid-1990s. It was six feet high, 40 inches wide and weighed about 1800 lbs!

There's actually a serious point buried in that last bit of silliness, but I'll leave that for a future blog entry.

[\*] All Sun UltraSPARC T2 SPEC CPU metrics quoted are from full “reportable” runs, but are nevertheless designated as “estimates” because they use preproduction systems. SPEC, SPECint, SPECfp registered trademarks of Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. Sun UltraSPARC T2 1.4GHz (1 chip, 8 cores, 64 threads) 78.3 est. SPECint_rate2006, 62.3 est. SPECfp_rate2006.


Comments:

You need to have the following disclosure statement in your text above:

All Sun UltraSPARC T2 SPEC CPU metrics quoted are from full “reportable” runs, but are nevertheless designated as “estimates” because they use preproduction systems. SPEC, SPECint, SPECfp registered trademarks of Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. Sun UltraSPARC T2 1.4GHz (1 chip, 8 cores, 64 threads) 78.3 est. SPECint_rate2006, 62.3 est. SPECfp_rate2006.
Competitive results from <a href="http://www.spec.org/" target="_blank">www.spec.org</a> as of August 6, 2007. IBM POWER6 4.7GHz (1 chip, 2 cores, 4 threads) 60.9. SPECint_rate2006, 53.2 SPECfp_rate2006.
<p>
...more performance data at:
http://blogs.sun.com/bmseer/

anonymously yours,
BM Seer (a Sun employee)

Posted by BM Seer on August 07, 2007 at 06:24 AM EDT #

<p>
Fixed. Thanks.
</p>

Posted by Josh Simons on August 07, 2007 at 06:34 AM EDT #

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