Sun Microsystems T1000
The RSA Factoring Challenge
The Constructive Approach
© Grebyn Corp. 2006
Sun Microsystems Niagara processor formed
the basis of (at the current time) two systems, the
Sun Fire T1000 and the
Sun Fire T2000 .
The appeal of the chip and the systems were manifold: increased overall
central processing unit (CPU) throughput - the chip was designed with up to
8 cores and 4 threads per core, leading to 32 concurrent threads; and
reduced power consumption - the "CoolThreads"
technology lead to the creation of a new metric SWaP (Space Watts and
Performance). This new metric takes into consideration the space
occupied by the system the electricity required to operate the system (and
effectively a second order cost - to supply the cooling necessary to
maintain its operating environment), and the performance of the system.
The T1000 and T2000 systems are power by a Niagara chip, a 64 bit
UltraSparc T1 chip designed with 32 threads of execution and only 73 watts
of power consumption.
One of the characteristics (some would say limitations) of the first
generation Niagara chip was the availability of a single floating point unit
(FPU) on the chip. When used for such applications as servers (web servers,
mail servers, etc.) and many database applications, a single FPU would not
significantly hamper performance and throughput. Having only a single FPU
also left more space on the chip for other capabilities, such as the 3MB
cache per CPU. For applications (such as mine) that are almost entirely
integer computations, having only one FPU was more than enough.
T1000 / T2000
The T1000 and T2000 systems are built as 1-U and 2-U platforms
respectively around the Niagara chip. The systems vary in size from CPU
selection (4 cores per chip) to large (8 cores per chip), CPU speed (1.0 GHz
to 1.2 GHz), memory (8 to 32 GB) with single or dual power supplies and quad
gigabit Ethernet connections.
The system tested here was an 8 1.0GHz core T1000 with 16GB of memory and
two 73 GB drives (part number T10Z108A-16GA2F, US$ 14,445.00). The system
was ordered this way primarily because of anticipated memory requirements,
although the additional drive and ethernet connections were not fully