Sun discloses UltraSPARC VI and VII, shows IV silicon

Do or die


Sun's processor roadmap is at sixes and sevens - or VIs and VIIs to be more precise.

The company has disclosed for the first time that it has embarked on UltraSPARCVII (7) work and has been working on USVI (6) for some time, Sun's David Yen said today, in response to a question from The Register.

Yen is executive VP of the processor and network products groups at Sun.

We were musing how long it had been since we heard about USV, and whether Sun thought the announced cores would be enough to provide for its future needs. Well, obviously not - as you now know.

The even and odd numbers are compatible Yen reminded us, and USVI work has been underway "for some time". Yen said Sun has started on USVII. This would be a "very impressive processor" he said.

Why?

"Each new project has the advantage of the maturity of the computing infrastructure," he told us, "so we know our requirements better. USVII will have some new concepts," he added before clamming up completely.

Earlier, Yen displayed UltraSPARC IV silicon for the first time. But blink and you'll have missed it: and it was intended to be ironic.

Yen was flashing around the silicon die at the conference, he said, to demonstrate that that flashing around silicon dies at conferences doesn't prove anything.

"Last week Intel rushed in and desperately tried to persuade people that Itanium is still alive. All they could do was show Maddison silicon. This is working UltraSPARC IV silicon," he said, taking the die from his breast pocket.

"Well, probably not anymore."

Yen's point was that "we do kind of like to show processors at the right time - there's still some amount of work from producing working silicon and a shipping tested reliable working system".

"We will officially make an announcement at the right time."

But that won't be Microprocessor Forum. Sun has no plans to divulge information on either UltraSPARC IV or UltraSPARC V, which is slated to follow hot on its heels, at the MDR annual event. Last year Sun has a strong presence announcing the UltraSPARC IIIi "Jalapeno" processor. Er, yes … quite. Remember Jalapeno?

Mike Splain, CTO of Sun's microprocessor group (see Monday interview) today told us that this was simply bad timing - there was no beef with the Forum. ®

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