Sun Expands x64 Network Computing Options

Adds world’s highest performing processors from AMD for 2- and 4- way x64 systems outperforming IBM, HP and Dell; Expands operating systems (OS) choice with new SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9; Demonstrates dual-core technology

February 14 , 2005

LinuxWorld Conference — February 14, 2005 – Expanding its offerings for network computing, Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: SUNW) today announced performance and feature enhancements for its AMD Opteron processor-based systems that achieved seven new world-record results. Often referred to as x64 systems, the Sun Fire V20z and Sun Fire V40z servers outperformed 2- and 4-way servers from IBM, HP and Dell on industry-standard benchmarks. The news comes in conjunction with AMD’s announcement of its latest enhancements to the AMD Opteron processor – Models 252 and 852, and continues to feature highly optimized systems running Solaris 10, common Linux distributions or Windows operating systems. In addition to unmatched OS support, customers can enjoy up to a 25 percent performance increase on the Sun Fire V20z server(2), and up to a 29 percent performance increase on the Sun Fire V40z server(3).

Sun also unveiled new pricing promotions for select Sun Fire V20z and Sun Fire V40z servers, and Sun Java Workstations, giving customers even better price/performance for these products. Additionally, Sun announced it has certified its x64 systems to fully support SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 9 for AMD64 technology, broadening customers’ OS choice and increasing the availability of applications for Sun’s x64 systems.

“Sun is strategically positioned to continue leading with x64 systems, and the company continues to offer customers unparalleled performance with systems powered by the latest AMD Opteron processors with Direct Connect Architecture,” said Lisa Sieker, vice president, Network Systems Group, Sun Microsystems, Inc. “Today’s performance increases at no additional cost, attractive price promotions and the certification of SLES 9 demonstrates our commitment to our customers, and reflects our ability to deliver leading edge technologies. We’ve seen double digit growth in demand for these systems from Sun, proving that when you add valuable business and technical innovation to industry-standard hardware, customers will reap the benefits.”

Customers Choose Sun’s Industry-standard x64 Systems

In just over a year since Sun announced its first system with the AMD Opteron processor, customers including China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Dygra Films, E! Networks, EDS, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), Schlumberger, Overture Services, Inc. (A Yahoo! Company), University of Leicester and University of Nottingham have run their applications on Sun’s x64 systems running standard Linux distributions. Enterprise customers in financial services, manufacturing and oil industries to name a few, as well as customers in government, research, and education among other markets, are reaping the benefits of Sun’s OS-independent, high-performance x64 systems, with tens of thousands of unique customers in 49 countries worldwide.

“Sun’s x64 systems powered by AMD Opteron processors run anywhere from three to ten times faster than what we had before. That translates to substantial growth in work productivity,” said Eric Greenwade, chief IT architect at Idaho National Laboratory (formerly INEEL). “We can work simultaneously on models, which are several thousands times larger than our previous ability. The end result is we can do problems that are up to 10 to 100 times bigger and get them done in as little as 1/10th the time and our confidence in results also has vastly improved.”

Sun Delivers Extreme x64 Performance

The Sun Fire V20z and Sun Fire V40z servers, and the Sun Java Workstations just got faster. These systems are now powered by the world’s highest performing AMD Opteron processor Model 252 for the Sun Fire V20z server and Sun Java Workstation W2100z, and AMD Opteron processor Model 852 for the Sun Fire V40z server. These systems also support the fastest 400 MHz Double Data Rate (DDR) memory that is available for AMD Opteron processors. Systems equipped with AMD processors deliver incredible performance and competitive advantages with its Direct Connect Architecture, designed to help eliminate the bottlenecks inherent in competitor’s front-side bus and enable overall system performance and efficiency.

“Sun and AMD have teamed to continue to advance 32-bit performance in the enterprise with a simplified migration to 64-bit computing on dual-core ready platforms, while providing a choice of operating systems including Solaris 10, Red Hat and SUSE Linux as well as Windows,” said Ben Williams, vice president, Commercial and Server/Workstation Business, AMD. “We are seeing a growing number of customers interested in taking advantage of the reliability and virtualization features of Solaris 10, which together with Sun Studio 10 is optimized for AMD Opteron processor-based systems.”

Sun Posts Seven New World-Record Results – Outperforms Dell and HP

The Sun Fire V20z and Sun Fire V40z servers provide excellent deployment platforms for a number of high-performance and compute-intensive applications. These x86 systems recently achieved world-record benchmarks running Solaris 10(1), as well as the following seven new records:

  • SPEC CPU2000: This benchmark measures CPU and memory intensive computing tasks based on integer and floating point performance.
    • The Sun Fire V40z server achieved two new world-records for the 4-way x86 systems on integer and floating point throughput suites of the benchmark. The Sun Fire V20z server posted the new x86 world-record score on floating point intensive SPECfp2000 suite of the benchmark, as well as the best 2-way result on floating point throughput suite. The enhanced servers exhibit improved scalability and optimized performance for both floating point and integer performance, demonstrating up to a 25 percent improvement when compared with the previous results obtained on the same platforms(2).
  • SPEC OMPM2001: This benchmark compares the performance of shared memory servers executing compute-intensive scientific applications.
    • The Sun Fire V40z server, equipped with the award-winning EKOPath Compiler Suite from PathScale Inc., has set a new world-record for all systems running four parallel threads. This 4-way server also achieved a 29 percent boost in performance when compared with the previous results on the same platform that were published by Sun(3).
  • SPECjbb2000: This benchmark measures the implementation of the Java Virtual Machine, the performance of the underlying operating system and the scalability of the system’s processors and memory.
    • The Sun Fire V20z server geared up with the latest version of Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition 5.0 has posted a new 64-bit 2-way world-record. It has also demonstrated the superior scalability by improving upon the previous best score achieved on the same configuration, by up to 7 percent. Furthermore, Sun’s server beat Dell’s result on the 2-way Itanium-based system running the Windows OS by 17 percent(4).
  • SPECweb99_SSL: This benchmark establishes a standard performance measure for systems that execute secure web serving transactions.
    • The Sun Fire V40z server set a new world-record in the 4-way category. This result supersedes the performance of the HP Integrity rx4640 Itanium2-based server by 8.5 percent. It also improves upon the previous Sun result by over 8 percent(5).

Sun Servers Outpace IBM Servers by up to 23 Percent

Sun’s x64 systems with the AMD Opteron processor continue to outperform comparably configured IBM servers equipped with Power5 processors. A recent SPEC OMP2001 benchmark demonstrates that the Sun Fire V40z server, in a 2-way configuration, outruns the 2-way Power5-based IBM eServer OpenPower 710 server by 23 percent using half the number of parallel threads(3). In addition, based on SPEC CPU2000 suite, a 2-way Sun Fire V20z server beat a 2-way IBM eServer p5 510 by 22 percent on SPECint_rate2000 benchmark and by over 7 percent on the SPECfp_rate2000 benchmark. When compared to the 2-way IBM eServer OpenPower 710, which only runs Power-specific version of Linux, the Sun Fire V20z server is faster by over 15 percent on SPECfp_rate2000 benchmark(2). On Web-intensive workloads, the Sun Fire V40z server tops the previous IBM eServer p5 570 SPECweb99_SSL record without resorting to the use of specialized SSL encryption cards, demonstrating the true computing capability of this highly successful platform(5).

Customers Receive Significant Cost Savings

The pricing promotions for x64 systems include:

  • Customers can purchase the Sun Fire V20z and Sun Fire V40z servers with AMD Opteron processor Models 244 and 844, and 250 and 850 for up to a 20 percent price reduction. The servers start at $2,595 U.S. list price and $6,995 U.S. list price, respectively.
  • Customers can get a price reduction of up to 22 percent when they purchase a Sun Java Workstation W1100z or W2100z with AMD Opteron processor Models 150, 250 or 246. The Sun Java Workstations start at $1,795 U.S. list price and at $2,595 U.S. list price respectively. The reduced prices will be available as of March 8, 2005. All prices quoted are in U.S. Dollars.

Customer Options Continue to Grow

Extending its offerings for 64-bit network computing, Sun announced a number of new options for x64 systems including:

  • SLES 9 added support: By further extending the range of Linux distributions available with Sun’s x64 systems, customers can be assured of a wider selection of applications and configuration options.
  • NVIDIA’s new extreme high-end Quadro FX4000 graphics card: The Research community can now take advantage of high-end graphics with the Sun Java Workstations powered by the AMD Opteron processor for virtually any OS.

Dual-core Sneak Preview

Visit Sun’s booth #123 to see the latest demonstration of AMD64 dual-core technology.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision — “The Network Is The Computer” — has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the World Wide Web at

Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, Solaris, Sun Fire, Java and The Network Is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All SPARC trademarks are used under license and are trademarks or registered trademarks of SPARC International, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Products bearing SPARC trademarks are based upon an architecture developed by Sun Microsystems, Inc.

SPEC and the benchmark names SPEComp, SPECweb99_SSL, SPECcpu and SPECjbb are registered trademarks of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. Competitive benchmark results reflect data published as of 02/11/05. For the latest benchmark results, visit Sun has submitted all results to SPEC. The 2-way systems have 2 cores. The 4-way systems have 4 cores.

(1) The results can be found at:
(2) The Sun Fire V20z server (2xAMD Opteron processor Model 252, SLES9): SPECfp2000 – 2036, SPECint_rate2000 – 40.4, SPECfp_rate2000 – 46.5. The Sun Fire V40z server (4xAMD Opteron processor Model 852, SLES9): SPECint_rate2000 – 76.7,SPECfp_rate2000 – 87.1. The above results were obtained using the compiler suite from PathScale Inc,. The Sun Fire V20z server (2xAMD Opteron processor Model 250, SLES8): SPECfp_rate2000 – 37.2.IBM eServer OpenPower 710 (2×1.65 GHz Power5, Linux): SPECfp_rate – 40.2. IBM eServer p5 510 (2×1.65 GHz Power5, AIX): SPECint_rate2000 – 33, SPECfp_rate2000 – 43.2. The IBM results can be found at:
(3) The Sun Fire V40z server (2xAMD Opteron processor Model 852, SLES9): SPECompM2001 – 6486 (2 cores, 2 chips, 2 threads). The Sun Fire V40z server (4xAMD Opteron processor Model 852, SLES9): SPECompM2001 – 11223 (4 cores, 4 chips, 4 threads). The above results were obtained using the compiler suite from PathScale Inc, The Sun Fire V40z server (4xAMD Opteron processor Model 850, SUSE Linux): SPECompM2001 – 8694 (4 cores, 4 chips, 4 threads). The IBM eServer OpenPower 710 (1.65 GHz POWER5, Linux): SPECompM2001 – 5282 (2 cores, 1 chip, 4 threads). IBM results can be found at:
(4) The Sun Fire V20z server (2xAMD Opteron processor Model 250, SLES8): 59648 JBB operations per second (JBBops/s). The Sun Fire V20z server (2xAMD Opteron processor Model 252, SLES9): 63743 JBBops/s. Dell PowerEdge 3250 (2×1.5 GHz Itanium2, MS Windows 2003 ES): 54617 JBBops/s
(5) Sun’s results were obtained using the Zeus 4.2 Web Server. More information about Zeus Technology Limited can be found at: The Sun Fire V40z server (4xAMD Opteron processor Model 852, SLES8): 5005 conforming connections. The Sun Fire V40z server (4xAMD Opteron processor Model 850, SLES8): 4608 conforming connections. IBM eServer p5 570 (2×1.9 GHz Power5, SLES9) – 4970 conforming connections. HP Integrity rx4640 server (2×1.6 GHz Itanium2, HP-UX) – 4615 conforming connections.