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Sun Dropping Rock Chip Project, Says Report

Rock is believed to have been intended as a replacement for the Fujitsu microprocessors Sun uses in its larger servers.

Sun Microsystems, which is expected to be acquired by Oracle this summer, has dropped plans for a 16-core processor that would have challenged IBM and Intel in the high-end server market.

Sun has been working on its Rock processor for five years, but decided to cancel the chip that company executives once touted as a game-changing product, The New York Times reported Tuesday, quoting two people briefed on Sun's plans.

No reason was given for the cancellation, and Sun declined to elaborate. "At this time, we have no comment to offer on this matter," a spokesman said in an email Tuesday.

Sun was supposed to release Rock, the next-generation UltraSparc chip, last year, but pushed it back to the second half of this year. The company said last February the delay was needed to give the company more time for testing the processor, which encompassed an entirely new design. At the time, Sun said there were no major technical problems.

With Rock, Sun was to become the first chip maker to implement transactional memory, also known as atomic transactions. The technology attempts to simplify parallel processing through better control of access to shared memory. As the first to implement atomic transactions, Sun risked being ahead of broad industry support, since it was unclear whether IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle and others would back Sun's new approach in processors.

Rock was believed to have been intended as a replacement for the Fujitsu chips Sun uses in its larger servers.

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