Sun Boosts CPU Speeds on V1280 Midrange Box
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
Sun Microsystems has announced that it has rolled its fastest 1.2 GHz UltraSparc-III processor into the twelve-way Sun Fire V1280 and Netra 1280 server lines. With this upgrade, all of the current Sun Fire machines, both in the "Serengeti" midframe line--that's the 280R, 4800, 6800, 12000, and 15000--and the so-called V Series machines (which do not support dynamic domain partitions) such as the V480 and V880, are already using the 1.2 GHz CPUs.
The V1280 launched in February of this year, when Sun was just starting to ramp up production on the 1.2 GHz parts and had other priorities for these chips. That is why it shipped with only 900 MHz UltraSparc-III processors. As faster 1.05 GHz and 1.2 GHz UltraSparc-IIIs were available, Sun put them into other machines in the line. But it kept the V1280s at 900 MHz, presumably because the SMP scalability of the box made up for the slower clock speed. Sun has also upgraded the processors Netra 1280 variant of the V1280, which is aimed at telecom and service providers who need DC power and other ruggedized features. The processors offer roughly 30 percent more oomph, and Sun, as has usually been its tradition, is throwing in the faster processors on new machines at the same list price as machines that used to have the 900 MHz parts. Exactly what customers who have 900 MHz processors have to pay to swap out those chips for 1.2 GHz parts is unclear. But it is almost certainly not a free upgrade.
In any event, a four-way V1280 with 8 GB of main memory and two 73 GB SCSI disks costs $68,995. A V1280 with eight of the 1.2 GHz processors, 16 GB of main memory, and two 73 GB disks costs $114,995. A loaded twelve-way box with the new processors, 24 GB of main memory (against a possible maximum of 96 GB), and two 73 GB disks costs $160,995. All of those machines come with Solaris 9 preloaded.