Fujitsu Siemens will launch a new line of servers next year using its new dual-core 90nm chip design, with a quad-core UltraSparc 64 VI+ due in 2008.

Fujitsu is lagging Intel, which has just announced its quad-core Clovertown chips complete with systems from HP, IBM, Dell and Fujitsu itself.

Christian Morales A core can handle two threads, or instruction sequences, inside an application that can run in parallel with other threads. Christian Morales, Intel's European marketing head - pictured - also claims that the Clovertown-based servers will outperform the new UltraSparc products outlined by Fujitsu. Fujitsu staff were loath to comment.

The UltraSparc 64 VI chip, codenamed "Olympus" was originally due in 2005. It is said to be based on Fujitsu’s GS21 mainframe processor line and offers approximately twice the performance of the previous single core UltraSparc 64 V. The new APL (advanced product line) servers will supersede the existing PrimePower line, and Sun will use the chip to build servers replacing its current SunFire line.

The new mid-range FF2 server will contain up to eight 2.15GHz chips, with four in the new FF1. There is a maximum of 20GB of RAM in the 10U rack-mount FF2 and half that in the 6U FF1. The chips will also be used in three data centre-class machines: DC1 with up to 16 chips; DC2 with a maximum of 32; and the top-end DC3 with up to 64. Maximum RAM amounts are 512GB, 1TB and 2TB respectively.

These will be drop-in upgradeable to the quad-core UltraSparc 64 VI+, codenamed Jupiter and built on newer 65nm technology, doubling the number of application threads that can be run. Both chips use the same bus to connect to memory.

RAS (reliability, availability and service-ability) is provided by internal hardware-mirrored 2.5in serial-attached SCSI (SAS) disks and many redundant or hot-swap components.

Fujitsu, FSC and Sun - the three vendors shipping Sparc 64 VI and VI+ systems - have agreed a common brand and model name scheme for systems using the chips. The actual products Sun and Fujitsu will be delivering are not yet known. Sun will use Fujitsu Sparc chips until 2008. After that it may use its own "Rock" processor design which is still in development and intended for high-end server work.

FSC will also have new entry-level servers in its APL product set next year. The E1 and E2 systems will use the UltraSparc T1 chip, known as Niagara. Sun also has an 8-core Niagara follow-on, the Ultrasparc T2, in development, signalling that it is far from willing to entrust all its chip development to Fujitsu. Each core can run eight threads but the chip is destined for low-end servers, ones that are web serving for example. The UltraSparc 64 VI and VI+ chips are for mid-range and high-end database processing work.