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HP topples IBM for benchmark lead

Itanic 2 sails past Power4

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My, oh my, HP and IBM are feisty of late.

The two companies have engaged in a nasty benchmarking contest akin to the "mine is bigger than yours" game known to men the world over. One week, HP posts a record-settingTPC-C result . A short time later IBM returns the favor.

This time HP has outdone itself. A new benchmark result from HP appeared on the Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPCC) Web site on Tuesday, showing that a 64-processor HP Superdome running Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition 64bit is tops.

If this feels all too familiar, it's because the exact same server set a previous TPC-C record in April. The same 1.5GHz Itanium 2 (Madison) processors are there along with the same Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition operating system. The HP engineers, however, have tweaked and tuned with all their might, boosting the system to handle 707,102 transactions per minute - up from 658,277 tpmC.

Sitting in between these two results is a 32-processor IBM p690 server with 680,613 tpmC. IBM's system runs on 1.7GHz dual-core Power4 processors and held the top score for 11 days.

Both companies put millions behind their benchmarking programs, in part, to show who has the better chip. HP and Intel have made owning top benchmark scores a priority for the young Itanium processor, hoping to sway customers from the 64bit options offered by IBM and Sun.

While IBM backs Itanium 2, its heart lies with Power, and the company is no doubt working to recapture its TPC-C crown with homegrown Unix kit.

The war rages on. ®

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