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 as in existing models, 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 remark was seemingly intended for another Sun employee, product line manager Martin Shepard, rather than the public.

The problem is attributed to manufacturing yield, which has forced a launch delay until 2007. But customers have been waiting for the IIIi+ processor a, 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 current IIIi is built on 130nm elements, while the IIIi+ will be smaller, at 90nm. As smaller geometries deliver faster processing speed – "above 2GHz is a good guess", according to a Datamonitor analyst – Sun hasn't made any claims.

Old tricks

But the UltraSPARC T1 was years late, and this new 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."

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