Sun is about to introduce new servers containing old processors.

The entry-level Sun Fire V215, V245 and V445 upgrade the existing V210, V240 and V440 but will include the UltraSPARC IIIIi, the same processor architecture - known as Jalapeno - as existing models, and which was introduced in 2003.

Sun field development manager Nick Suh said during a forum this week that the new systems "will come to market with UltraSparc IIIi processors". The problem apparently is manufacturing yield which has forced a launch delay until 2007. The remark was seemingly intended for another Sun employee, product line manager Martin Shepard, rather than the public.

Customers have been waiting for the IIIi+, codenamed Serrano, which is intended as a low cost, low-power part with a bigger cache, now 4MB compared to 1MB, and built using more modern processes - the IIIi is built on 130nm elements, while the IIIi+ will be a 90nm part. Along with smaller geometries come speed increases - "above 2GHz is a good guess", according to a Datamonitor analyst - although Sun hasn't explicitly said so.

Instead this is like the return of the bad old days of delays in new processors. The UltraSPARC T1 was years late, and this component was originally slated to appear in 2005. It prompted one forum member to remark: "Good old Sun for giving us the best of the best from times past. Now that's future forward of them, and par for the course."

Another was more blunt: "Another typical letdown for the stalwart Sun customer."