back to article Sparc T4 chips: Oracle makes stealthy spec change

Oracle is putting its money where its mouth is on the single-threaded performance of the future Sparc T4 processors. Or more precisely, it is putting Sparc customers' money where its mouth is. The Sparc T4 processors went into beta with "select customers" back in July and are due sometime before the end of the year. These new …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scaling factors

    The new 2.66 GHz SPARC64s are 0.50 scaling factor, so same as T4.

    This changed at the same time as the new Itaniums got doubled from 0.5 to 1.0.

  2. Dummy00001

    "prior Sparc T1, T2, and T3 chips did not do very well on jobs where single-threaded performance was important."

    That is an understatement. We have in house several latter "high-end" T2s and on most workloads our trusty (low-end and rusty) 440s easily beat them. (Even on highly multi-threaded Java ones!!!) Regardless whether the on-chip multi-threading is on or off. Several applications had to be redesigned just to get acceptable performance from the T2.

    1. Kebabbert


      The Niagara chips are not built for threaded performance, but they are built for massive throughput, as everybody knows. Niagara servers have higher throughput than any other architecture. If you are not building a high throughput application, then Niagara is not for you.

      I suggest you try to load the Niagara massively with lots of throughput and you will see it can cope with more load than any other cpu. If you have only average load, then any other cpu will be faster.

      1. Pony Tail

        in other words don't put Oracle products on it

        Kebob is going to make the reg feedback columns worthless with all his cut and paste of the same 8 year old garbage. He should get a life.

        1. Kebabbert

          @Pony Tail

          Why are you talking about me cut and pasting same old facts, shouldnt you talk to the people spreading the same old FUD about Niagara?

          Niagara is a high throughput cpu with many, but weak single threads, Sun was clear with that almost a decade ago. To see people here, still be surprised of Niagara's weak threads is quite strange, dont you think? Maybe it is them that make the reg feedback columns worthless with all the FUD that keeps reiterated in every post about Niagara, have you thought about that?

          You dont complain when people are spreading the FUD here, an when I dispel the FUD by repeating the official Sun/Oracle facts - I get complaints of me reiterating the same thing all the time? Have you ever asked yourself WHY I must reiterate the same thing all the time? Is it because there are lot of IBM supporters spreading FUD as soon they see a chance? But that, you dont care. Only when I defend and try to dispel all the FUD attacks, you care. What is it called? Hippocrasy?

          The funniest thing is when people try to attack me by writing stuff like "only because of you, Kebabbert, our CEO has stopped bying Oracle hardware. You should stop defending Oracle". As if a company's IT-strategy would be changed by a blogger like me. Quite dumb attack, actually.

          "Only because of you Pony Tail, our CEO has sold his house and sold the big 500-fortune company, and the country I live in, has declared war on another country" - very likely scenario, dont you think?

  3. Shaun Hunter

    What Sun give'th, Oracle Take'th away

    Too bad the won't be Open Sourced. I might care if the were.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's not forget software is all Oracle cares about

    As Safra said....Oracle is the dog and Sun is the tail.

    And if you are a customer stupid enough to believe Oracle will do SPARC customers a favor vs. treating them like a cash cow for maintenance and software profit then you need a history lesson on Oracle pricing.

    Larry is on a war path to be the richest man in the world which he was for about a week in the dot com crash. See no one thinks he is anything but an arrogant _____ who thinks he is god so becoming the richest man in the world is is goal to show he is not inferior to Bill and Steve.

    Sorry Larry....Safra is the real brains at least until you fire her because people figure that out just like all the others. is that 8 socket box coming? Oh that's right Oracle/Sun hasn't done an 8 socket box in about 8 years. Good luck replacing the Fujitsu box now that the last SPARC64 is in the market.

    Go ahead raise Itanium again I dare ya we will move to DB2 faster than you can spell ULA.

    Cheers Matt

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: What Sun give'th, Oracle Take'th away

    Oh because I'm sure reading open source processor instruction sets and open sourced material is to riveting, right? I'm sure and were just slammed with ever increasing page hits because they were so compelling like LOTR - T1 - The fellowship of the threads, T2 - The two Towers...errr....I mean threads times four. T4 - The Return of Single Threaded Computing. I personally prefer all of Intel's, AMD's, POWER's, Itanium's open source processor documentation right before some Oliver Twist before I go to bed myself.

  6. fch

    spec change != price hike

    Let me see ... where exactly in the article was a spec change mentioned ?

    Well, I guess if you're considering Oracle's pricing a feature, you may have a point. Go buy more Oracle stock.

  7. Kebabbert

    My prediction comes true

    Lot of FUD here.

    When Oracle bought Sun, I said that there only was technological reasons to buy Solaris, but with Oracle there will also be business reasons too. Oracle will make sure that competitors will be more expensive, and SPARC solutions cheaper. Thus, there will be business reasons too.

    Sun had 35.000 customers. Oracle has 350.000 customers. If Oracle can persuade some customers to switch to Solaris/Sparc then Solaris has a bright future. Apart from technical reasons to switch, there now also business reasons. :o)

    My predictions comes true. I also predict that x86 will be faster than POWER very soon, so IBM must lower the price even further. Soon, POWER will be low margin business. And we all know IBM prefers high margin business. As IBM has officially said AIX that will be replaced with Linux, that time might come sooner than you may think. When POWER is dead, there is nothing to run AIX on, why continue with AIX?

    I predict the death of AIX and POWER (with the help of public IBM statements).

    1. Allison Park

      Thanks but our IQ is higher than yours

      What did you forget to provide the links to some 8 year old article that predated IBM going to over 50% of the Unix market share?

      This is a quote from the article and if you look what has happened to IBM AIX and Power systems you will see they were right. They are investing in AIX because it is a growth platform. Oracle is treating Sun customers as cash cows.

      "Bowen, the executive in charge of AIX, emphasised that IBM's Unix isn't being replaced by Linux on any product plans. "We've got people now who are building chips for 2007 systems. If we had any belief that AIX was going to fall down and stumble, we wouldn't be doing that," Bowen said. In particular, a major revamp of AIX is due in early 2004. And though Bowen wouldn't provide specifics, he said the AIX development team is somewhere between two and four times as large as the 250 people IBM employs to improve Linux at its Linux Technology Center"

      We will continue to buy IBM as Oracle is going after Sun customers money and abandoning HP customers with strong arm tactics. We are also moving our BI infrastructure to DB2 and if that goes well we will look at our SAP then OLTP work loads.

      1. Kebabbert

        @Allison Park

        That quote you are citing is old. Back then, IBM believed they could still charge a premium for the not yet released POWER7.

        But as it turned out, POWER7 is only 10% faster than x86 today, and therefore POWER7 is quite cheap: only 3x as expensive as x86.

        Whereas POWER6 was several times faster than x86, and therefore 5-10x more expensive than x86.

        So, the trend is that POWER8 will not be faster than, or even slower than x86. Then IBM needs to lower the price even more on POWER8, or customers will plan to migrate to faster and cheaper x86 servers. They stop buying POWER, and buy new x86 instead.

        You see, in the quote you are citing, IBM did not know that Intel and AMD would catch up on POWER that quick, at such low prices.

        Thus, POWER8 will be slower than x86, and even cheaper than POWER7. Will POWER8 be cheaper than x86? Does POWER8 look like a high margin business to you? What cpu architectures does AIX run on? Only POWER? Are you serious, POWER that is no high margin business, soon? AIX should be ported to x86, or what else should AIX run on when POWER is dead? Ah, yes, IBM has officially said that AIX will be replaced with Linux. So no worries about AIX anymore. But of course, IBM will support AIX at least 10 years more, when AIX is officially halted. So no worries. You still have time to learn Linux.

        Also, AIX development pace has slowed, according to articles Ive read. There are not many new features in AIX any more. Mostly copied tech from Solaris, et al. IBM is betting heavily on Linux. The switch will come. IBM's analysts see that the future of POWER does not look that good.

        1. Jesper Frimann

          Smoking while posting

          Whatever you are smoking can't be legal.

          // Jesper


    Thanks for the good laugh

    Always love reading Kebabbert comments!! Possibly the new Mike Cox ... but for snoracle instead.

    1. Kebabbert


      You are welcome. :o)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    T4 specs

    Lame lame lame

    3.0GHz with OOO execution (Oracle is acting like out of order execution is a great new technology)

    The T chips are about the only chips that don't have it. Even the old USIII's had it

    Dedicated L2 128KB cache - wow that is almost big

    Shared 4MB L3 cache - 4MB/8 cores has anybody done the math on Westmere or Power7 they should be ashamed of trying to be proud of this

    8 cores with Private L2 Cache - lets repeat the prior statement to make it look important and just dumped down from 16 cores

    "up to 5X the single threaded performance" I am guessing that is compared to T1? T2? can't possibly be compared vs. Xeon or Power cause I am betting it is 1/5th

    The sparc Supercluster idea is pure marketing BS Peoplesoft and JD Edwards performance improved up to 8X? I didn't even think anyone had JDE on SPARC. I thought they killed that before Oracle bought Sun.

    <1% virtualization overhead. Well when you pin the partitions to threads which are only on one CPU then yes there wont be much overhead, but then again there will not be much virtualization

    Basically a smaller T chip (8 vs. 16 cores) and better threading with out of order and trying to re-announce the sparc version of Exa-crap cause no one would ever spend $20M for a sparc version

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