Sun announces Niagara2 with nice Performance numbers


Sun today announced its latest UltraSPARC T2 processor. Sun is calling it the first "system on a chip", meaning it has a lot of features integrated into it that you would normally associated with a system, like computing, networking, security, and input/output. It will be available in a  single-socket rackmount or  blade server, and is targetted primarily towards TELCO, WiMAX and Network infrastructure deployments
From my perspective, it has some other really nice features that the previous generation Niagara didnt have:
  • 1 FP unit per core, 8 FP units per chip
  • 1 Crypto unit per core, 8 per chip with 10 dedicated functions supported in HW
  • 8 threads / core (twice of Niagara), 64 threads /chip which gave it the highest SPEC OMP2001 numbers for a single chip
  • Highest SPECintrate 2006 and SPECfprate 2006 numbers for a single chip easily outranking every other chip

How competitive are these numbers? Check out these two blogs from Sun's BMSeer describing this chip and its comparison with Intel/Clovertown, AMD/Opteron and IBM/Power chips: the first blog compares SPECint and SPECfp rates on a single chip, the second blog compares SPEComp numbers.
Its a nice chip, overall, overcoming many of the common deficiencies of the earlier, but still very popular Niagara chip. I hope Sun does very well with it; it does have a lot of potential.
Of course, all reported numbers were generated with Sun Studio 12 compilers.
Required Disclosure:
All SPEC CPU metrics quoted are from full "reportable" runs, but are designated as "estimates" because they used pre-production systems. SPEC, SPECint, SPECfp reg tm of Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation.
Results from
www.spec.org as of 8/6/07.
Sun Ultra SPARC T2 @1.4GHz (64 threads, 8 cores 1 chip) 78.3 est. SPECint_rate2006, 62.3 est. SPECfp_rate2006.

Comments:

One correction - the previous generation of the Niagara chip (Niagara 1) does have a crypto unit that accelerates public key ciphers like RSA and Diffie-Hellman. Niagara 2 extends that to add symmetric key ciphers such as AES, DES and RC4 and hash algorithms such as MD5, SHA1 and SHA256.

Posted by Krishna Yenduri on August 07, 2007 at 07:44 AM PDT #

Thanx for the correction; you're absolutely right.

Posted by Vijay Tatkar on August 07, 2007 at 08:47 AM PDT #

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I have worked with Sun and Oracle for 25 years now; in compilers and tools organization for most of these years followed by a couple of years in Cloud Computing. I am now in ISV Engineering, where our primary task is to improve synergy between Oracle Sun Systems and our rich ISV ecosystem

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