Sun Microsystems has completed the initial design for its next-generation Rock processor, and expects to launch the device in the second half of 2008.
Rock is designed as a multi-threaded processor that allows multiple processes to perform calculations in parallel.
Applications that benefit from multi-threading typically perform a huge number of relatively straightforward tasks, such as web and email servers.
Mainstream processors such as Intel's Pentium and Xeon chips perform better in complex calculations such as data analysis and 3D rendering.
Rock will feature 16 processor cores per chip, up from the four on Sun's current T1 processors codenamed Niagara.
Each Niagara core features eight threads, allowing for 24 simultaneous calculations. Sun did not disclose the number of threads that it plans that offer on Rock chips.
The company has traditionally dominated the high-throughput computing market, but Intel revealed last year that it aims to create a processor with 80 cores by 2010.
The processor is based on IBM's Power architecture and is also available for enterprise servers running a special version of the Fedora Linux distribution. The chip targets number crunching rather than high throughput applications.
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