Several weeks ago, we took a look at Sun's first attempt at an Opteron workstation with the W2100z workstation. Today, we have a follow up to that piece of hardware with the acclaimed Sun Fire V40z 4-way Opteron 850 entry server. The Sun Fire V40z is the first four-way Opteron lineup in Sun's portfolio; the two-way variation of the V40z is dubbed the V20z.

The V40z is an entry-level server geared for everything from data mining to CAE to database work. Granted, "entry-level" for Sun might be a bit different than what other people consider entry-level. Our forums database runs on a similar four-way Opteron machine, currently the 11 th largest forum on the internet. Regardless of application, the need for powerful, reliable servers is still universal. In January, Sun sent us a V40z demonstration unit that was complete with four Opteron 850s and 8GB of PC2700. For the last several weeks, we spent some time getting to know the machine while it ran data mining exercises on our own Price Engine database.

With the recent introduction of AMD's Opteron/Athlon64 "E4" stepping, Sun has also introduced a newer version of the Sun Fire V40z based on four Opteron 852 processors and PC3200 memory. Availability for the four-way 2.6GHz Sun Fire V40z is a few weeks away, and in the interim, Sun reduced prices on the entire V40z lineup and also put a few rebates out. The machine that we reviewed has an MSRP of $20,995, but there are several rebates available through right now that make the machine a bit more desirable (and affordable).

Click to enlarge.

The Sun Fire V40z is fully supported under Windows Server 2003 and (of course) Solaris, but our primary focus on this initial analysis of the V40z is under Linux. In particular, Red Hat 9 came preconfigured on our demo unit. SUSE Professional and Enterprise are also certified for the Sun Fire, but the beauty of Linux is that we can completely roll our own distribution with whichever components of SUSE and Red Hat that we need for management or driver support.

Taking a Look Inside


View All Comments

  • RyanVM - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - link

    Did anybody else find it confusing that the reviewed system had CG-stepping Opteron 850s and Kris brought up E4-stepping Opteron 852s on multiple occasions? What CPUs were actually in the system? Reply
  • SUOrangeman - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - link

    Last page, ..

    "Sun has a speed **daemon** on their hands, ..."

    Freudian slip, hehe? Nice read nonetheless.

  • KristopherKubicki - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - link

    MrEMan: Mediaplex is just an advertising server. Some advertisers (like NewEgg) host their banners on Mediaplex so they don't destroy their bandwidth. Sometimes when an ad campaign is hitting too many impressions the Mediaplex tag will revert to a 2x2 or a 1x1 pixel so that they don't harm their click through rates. It has nothing to do with spyware or malware or adware.

  • MrEMan - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - link


    What is with the 1/16" x 1/16" graphic (1280x1024 resolution on a 19" CRT monitor) for ?

    Is it there with your permission or did someone hack your site?

    If it is there with your permission, I must say I am surprised that you would put such stealth adware garbage links on your site.
  • jcourtney - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - link

    I'd love to see some benchmarks with Solaris instead of or vs. Linux for reference too. Nice read though as usual. Reply
  • ElFenix - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - link

    "particularly considering the fact that the V40z does not utilize any active cooling directly on their CPU heat sinks"

    whoa, proper spelling of heat sink!

    now i'm going to harp on the fact that blowing air across a radiator with a fan is not active cooling. air conditioning is active cooling, turning on the ceiling fan is not.


    nice read
  • Hikari - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - link

    I wish I could see a comparison of this and that Quad Opteron HP server. I have the HP one budgeted for this year already... (we're also a Sun shop).

    I didn't see an option for 15k RPM drives though. I could put in like 5-146GB@15k RPM in the HP which was one reason I was leaning towards it.
  • lihoyin - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - link

    Looking forward for a comparsion with HP DL585 / DL 385, both are also Monsters! Reply
  • Sunner - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - link

    Googer, that's true, Sun basically just rebadges Newisys servers, the same is true of the V20Z, in fact IIRC you can actually find some Newisys marks left on the servers :)

    Anyway, Kris, any chance of a couple of benchmarks with a 2.6 based distro?
    2.6 has, among other things, good NUMA support, something that would be nice to have when running a 4-way Opteron ;)

  • dougSF30 - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - link

    Another 250/850 typo on page 3: "Below, you can see one of the Opteron 250s is exposed from under the copper heat sink on the daughterboard."


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