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  1. Technology
September 14, 1995


By CBR Staff Writer

Sun Microsystems Inc’s Sparc Technology Business unit will announce the first member of its family of embedded microSparc-e RISCs, the IIe, plus support logic, within six months. It is not saying who is making the part, but the IIe, slated to deliver up to perhaps 125 SPECint95 according to the company’s chart, is derived from the current microSparc II+, currently fabricated only by Fujitsu Ltd, which reaches 78.6 SPECint92 at 110MHz. The IIe will differ from standard microSparcs by virtue of an additional ROM controller interface and hooks for buses supported by the company’s forthcoming UltraSparc Port Architecture, UPA, bus. Sparc Technology Business’ embedded road map calls for a microSparc IIIe by the end of 1997, running at 200 SPECint92. This part will be derived from a microSparc III, scheduled for the first quarter 1997, which will move Sun’s low-end RISC up to the 64-bit, V9 Sparc architecture. V8 with an UltraSparc superset and pipe. Binary-compatible with microSparc II, is how the IIIe is described. MicroSparc III should hit the 250 SPECint92 mark and be followed by a 300 SPECint92 III+ in the first quarter of 1998. A IIIe+, due by the end of 1998, will come in at between 250 and 300 SPECint92. The microSparc IV, to deliver 800 SPECint92, is a first quarter 1999 part and will be followed by the 500 SPECint92 IVe by the end of the millennium, and the 650 SPECint92 IVe+ by the end of the fourth quarter 2000. Meantime Sun’s 64-bit UltraSparc architecture, which is due to break the 300 SPECint92 line in an UltraSparc 1+ version at the beginning of next year, and reach 400 SPECint92 as UltraSparc II in the third quarter of 1996 (CI No 2,729), should get closer to 500 SPECint92 in a II+ version early 1997. The UltraSparc III, due in the first quarter of 1998, will push to 1,000 SPECint92, and the first quarter 1999 UltraSparc IV is set to tip over the 1,500 SPECint92 mark. The Sparc Technology Business is aiming its microSparc-e series squarely at the network printer, digital copier, computer-integrated telephony and intelligent hub-router markets, and not at the consumer business.


Merchant semiconductor licensees include Axil Workstations Inc’s parent Hyundai Electronics America Inc (for use in MPEG-2 set-top boxes, CI No 2,377), Matra-Hachette SA (communications controllers) and Motion Picture Expert Group specialist C-Cube Microsystems Inc. Sparc Technology Business will offer at least a couple of turnkey boards for each iteration of the microSparc-e and already has an implementation of the IIe in hand for its printing systems partner Xerox Corp. As well as a new shrink-wrapped version of its ClassiX real-time microkernel that Chorus Systemes SA will introduce for the part, microSparc-e will also support Chorus’s Cool object tools, JMI Software Systems Inc’s C Executive, LynxOS, Microtec Research Inc’s Virtual Real-Time eXecutive, Wind River Systems Inc and an ’embedded-friendly’ small footprint Solaris with base and networking features, though Sparc Technology Business admits this is unlikely to end up in production systems. Meantime the company has begun volume deliveries of the 110MHz microSparc-based motherboard which powers its low-end Sparcstation 5 series. The SE5-110 is rated at 78.6 SPECint92 and 65.3 SPECfp92 and priced at $1,900 for 100-up. The 85MHz board is now $1,700 for 100-up.

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