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Sun Microsystems has taken a circuitous route to attacking rival HP by tossing out a server ad that really doesn't make much sense.

The ad declares that one of Sun's servers is "76 per cent faster because we're 100 per cent committed to building business systems - not cute MP3 players, printers and cameras."

The ad raises the obvious question - 76 per cent faster than what? El Reg went looking for the answer.

Picture of Sun ad attacking HP, er, IBMCommitted was an interesting word to choose for the advertisement. Sun's current Santa Clara headquarters is built on the grounds of an old insane asylum, and it seems the ghosts of past inmates may be affecting Sun's marketing staff. The jibe at a company making MP3 players, printers and the like is a clear shot at HP. Sun's ad, however, actually compares its own box with one from IBM. Schizophrenia, anyone? We've seen this kind of thing happen before.

You have to look to the fine print of the ad to discover that Sun compares IBM's xSeries 365 running on four Xeon chips versus its own V40z system running on four of AMD's Opteron chips. The boxes were raced with the SPECweb99_SSL benchmark, and no HP system was involved - MP3 player or otherwise.

True enough, Sun's box does outperform the rival kit from IBM. Sun's V40z posted a score of 4608 on the benchmark as compared to IBM's 2616. Comically, a result for HP's comparable ProLiant DL585 isn't yet available.

But maybe Sun knows something the rest of us don't. IBM could well be launching a new foray into the consumer electronics market. Somehow we doubt it. ®

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