Sun Microsystems has brought its new UltraSparc IV+ to its high-end Unix servers, the 36-processor Sun Fire E20K and 72-processor E25K, the company said Monday. The dual-core processor roughly doubles performance over its predecessor, the UltraSparc IV, an important attribute for Sun as it faces competition from IBM and Hewlett-Packard.
Because Sun's top-end systems the same "Uniboard" processor/memory boards as midrange systems that already use the faster processors, the, but now Sun is selling standard configurations as well. The systems are powerful, but don't come cheap. An eight-processor E20K with 32GB of memory costs $565,000, while 72-processor E25K with 288GB of memory costs $3.5 million, for example.