Sun Microsystems increased the top speed of its UltraSparc IV+ processor from 1.5GHz to 1.8GHz last week, a move the company said improves the overall performance of servers with the chip about 20 percent. Sun reversed market share losses with systems using the 1.5GHz chip. But IBM earlier this month upgraded its Power5+ processor, and Hewlett-Packard will begin adopting Intel's faster "Montecito" Itanium chip in weeks.
Sun also began a promotion for IBM and HP customers, offering free Sun Fire E6900 and E25K server chassis, hardware valued at $55,000 and $315,000, respectively. The new servers now include a newer input-output subsystem,, the company said. Sun has introduced an ambitious low-end processor, the ; the IV+ is for more mainstream computing tasks.