Thursday, November 29, 2012

Oracle Sparc T5 Processors Pack a Punch

Expected to be released by early 2013, the new Oracle Sparc T5 processors are an innovative step into the big leagues of computing power.  Designed to handle Oracle workloads and engineered systems, the Sparc T5 processor seems to be a Sparc T4 processor mini-me, but it packs a sizeable punch in its compact 28nm form.

The basic version of the Sparc T5 processor comes with 16 3.6GHz Sparc S3 cores that each feature 128KB of level 2 cache, which are connected to 8MB of shared L3 cache through crossbar interconnect links. This design allows the new Sparc S3 cores to do single-threaded work better than ever before, making Sparc T5 legitimate contenders in the large-scale Solaris workload arena.

Sparc T5 processors have also taken a major generational leap when it comes to on-chip I/O processing. Oracle has shifted the designed from 10GbE interfaces to new PCI-Express 3.0 technology for the T5 processor’s on-chip x8 peripheral controllers. Also featuring an 8x9 crossbar switch design, this crossbar has a bisection bandwidth of 1TB/sec, which is double the bandwidth of the on-chip crossbar in the Sparc T4 chip.

But the most impressive new feature of the Sparc T5 processor is it enhanced 8-way, 1-hop glueless NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Access) scalability. This allows Sparc T5 processors to deliver much more effective bandwidth, and nearly perfect linear scaling capabilities for 8 sockets – allowing 8 sockets to provide close to 8 processor performance. This is pretty much unheard of given just how straight-up difficult it is to create near-perfect linear scalability for any processor type.

Overall, the Sparc T5 process has twice as many processor cores on the die, twice as much shared L3 cache, faster clock speed, enhanced scaling, and more optimized performance than the Sparc T4 processor, in almost half the form factor. So basically, we’re telling you that you should be getting pretty excited about the release of these processors. And we didn’t even mention the other impressive features like Advanced Power Management with DVFS and 8 DDR3 Bl8 Schedulers…

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