Monday, June 25, 2007

Niagara II Processor

What is it?

‘Niagara’ is the code name for the UltraSPARC T1 processor. It is a multi-core, multi-threaded CPU. The next generation, UltraSPARC T2 processor is sometimes called Niagara II.

Who is behind it?

Sun Microsystems. Niagara was their third multi-core processor, but the first multi-core, multi-threaded processor. It came in three versions: four, six or eight CPU core.

Why is it important?

Each of the cores can process eight threads simultaneously. So with eight cores, that’s 64 threads that can be processed concurrently!

Where will it be used?

Servers. Sun is targetting the $100 billion a year server market, in which Sun and IBM are the largest players. The beauty of multithreading is that you get a lot more throughput with a much lower clock speed. Also, Sun is advertising them as eco-friendly processors.

When is it releasing?

Reports indicate that it will be released in the second half of 2007. The processor will be manufactured using a 65 nanometer process.

How much better will Niagara II be?

Niagara II will improve mathematical abilities by adding more floating-point calculation units. Currently, a single FPC unit is shared by all eight cores. Networking will also be beefed up, thanks to the built in 10 Gbps Ethernet. If that’s not enough, Sun plans to ship the UltraSPARC T2 (Niagara II) as dual-processors, so that’s 16 cores, and 128 simultaneous threads being computed!

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