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Is the Sparc T4 Too Little Too Late? 128

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the intel-crushes-all dept.
packetrat writes "Ars Technica reports on Monday's launch of the Sparc T4, and how it finally (nearly 20 years after everyone else) brings out-of-order execution to Sun Sparc ... er, Oracle Sparc. But the benchmarks that Oracle has thrown up (surprise) are a smokescreen for the fact that the processor is still woefully behind state of the art, and it serves mostly as a placeholder to keep the remaining Sparc user base from defecting to Intel — even as Oracle is selling systems based on Intel and Oracle Linux. With the right benchmarks, my minivan outperforms a Maserati. The T4 is a minivan."
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Is the Sparc T4 Too Little Too Late?

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  • Re:Ignorant article (Score:5, Informative)

    by turgid (580780) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @03:58PM (#37544808) Journal

    Sun's first out-of-order execution CPU was code named Millennium and was due out in y2k but it was late. They canceled the project in 2005. It was going to be called UltraSPARC V. Rumour has it that it was going to have a mode without register windows as well to further increase performance.

    None of the Sun UltraSPARC CPUs (I, II, IIi, III, IIIi, IV, IV+) had ooo.

    Sun just couldn't get ooo to work. Fujitsu had no problem, on the other hand. Their SPARC64 CPUs were miles better at the same clock frequency and went to higher frequencies too. Sun always made sure that you always got the last generation version of Solaris when you bought a Fujitsu box to make the Sun boxes more compelling.

    Sun then gave up on "conventional" CPU design and went for the highly multi-threaded designs that they bought in from Afara (formed by ex-Sun staffers) and the Rock which turned out to be a dud. There was a good article about that after Oracle bought out Sun explaining why it wasn't a good design but I can't find the link.

    So Sun did a deal with Fujitsu to re-badge their SPARC64 boxes with the latest Solaris on them...

    I've no doubt that the T4 will be very good for certain loads. I know that my current employer bought a couple of T2 boxes as ClearCase view servers a few years back and the performance was abysmal since ClearCase doesn't scale well on multi-threaded systems. They had to be reassigned and replaced by M-series boxes with the (more conventional) Fujitsu SPARC64 CPUs.

    And I'm very angry with what Oracle has done with Solaris 11 licensing. I've got a pile of old Sun workstations for playing with that have now become landfill. Oh well, my Solais skills can rot. It's Linux all the way now.

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