Sun's entrance into the sub-$1000 market isn't an easy one. At the sub-$1000 level, whitebox units generally are the brand of choice for most small and medium businesses, while HPC orders get to go to the IBMs and Dells of the world based on volume. With the SunFire X2100, Sun becomes a viable alternative in both the horizontal and vertical markets. By default, the X2100 is configured best for a diskless cluster or high availability application. Once the SunFire X2100 becomes available en masse in the US, we could actually pre-configure the machine for storage and a faster processor instead, making it a very capable web server instead.

Similar to Sun's approach to the V20z and V40z, there will be several different configurations of the X2100, from Small to Extra Large. We actually have an Extra-Large configuration for testing today, which comes out to $2295. Sun tells us the Small configuration comes out to $745; although it doesn't have a hard drive or the beefiest of Opterons, $745 is a bargain for what most companies spend on blades. The Large configuration is priced at $1676. Barring any availability problems from AMD, we should see several versions of the SunFire X2100 in the future with Opteron 154 and 180 processors.

The industrial look of the SunFire X2100 is best described as the true nostalgic Sun look. A look at the front reveals the epitome of form following function.

You'll notice two forward USB ports (something new for Sun), a slim line DVD drive and two hot swappable SATA drive bays. The two hard drives can be set up for RAID 0 or 1 via the BIOS.

The rear reveals more USB ports and a serial interface. You'll also notice the complete lack of any legacy input connectors, including PS/2 keyboard and mice interfaces. The SunFire X2100 requires a USB keyboard/mouse for direct console access. The diagnostic lights on the front and back of the machine signal whether or not the machine is on/off or if there is a component failure. Since the indicator lights are featured on both sides of the server, it's easy to pick out a failed server from either side of the rack. The Aquarius weighs in just under 30lbs, so it is well suited for the included roll-out rack rails.

Also present is a half-height 1- to 8-lane PCIe expansion bay, two Gigabit Ethernet connectors and a single analog video output. The PCIe expansion is unique in the fact that the entire expansion bay is removable from the chassis when the bay cover is removed; no more scratched PCBs when replacing or installing an expansion card.

Index Taking a Look Inside
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  • dilidolo - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    If you want to conpare hardware, then run same OS.
    If you want to benchmark OS/App, then use same hardware.

    With Anand's testing method, you can't really tell if it's OS or hardware that makes the difference.
    Reply
  • Furen - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    Considering that the 175 is supposed to be cheaper than the 152, Sun's margins on the Dual-core system are huge. Then again, these systems cannibalize their 2-way single-core systems, so of course they have to be priced accordingly. Reply
  • MCSim - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    https://www.sun.com/nc/05q3/">Sun NC05Q3 event Reply
  • MCSim - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    https://www.sun.com/nc/05q3/">Fixed link Reply
  • gibhunter - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    Everyone retains their badge number in our company too. I think it makes it easier from an accounting standpoint.

    When I left in 99 and came back in 03 I still had the same badge number even though new employees' numbers have gone up by about a hundred.
    Reply
  • splat1 - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    The board is a rebranded tyan K8E.
    surprized the guys from anandtech didnt see that.

    ftp://ftp.tyan.com/img_mobo/i_s2865.tif">ftp://ftp.tyan.com/img_mobo/i_s2865.tif

    Looks like they pulled the pci slots and some other stuff but Im pretty sure the board layout was tyan's design.
    Reply
  • Furen - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    I would call it a similar design, it's not easy to "pull" stuff out of a motherboard. Reply
  • splat1 - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    Can anyone find a better pic of the sun motherboard. From what I can tell the board layout is identical. Even the smdc card looks to be the same one that tyan uses. I guess I could try to flash the k8e with the sun bios and see what happens. Reply
  • MCSim - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    Sun is doing really well with the Opterons. Reply
  • Questar - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    Yeah, look at those profits they're making! Reply

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