IBM Touts Power Chips Over Itanium

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2003-06-30 Print this article Print

Intel's 64-bit chip may be getting the lion's share of attention this week, but IBM officials on Monday said the processor falls short of their own Power chips.

Intel Corp.s latest generation 64-bit chip, the Itanium 2 6M, may be getting the lions share of attention this week, but IBM officials on Monday said the processor falls short of their own Power chips. In a brief phone conference with reporters, Adalio Sanchez, general manager of IBMs eServer pSeries, said Powered-based systems continue to be able to do more with fewer processors. "Itanium will continue to trail Power4 processors in performance and price/performance benchmarks," Sanchez said.
IBM said that in a recent benchmark test, a 32-way p690 system powered by Power4+ processors and running the companys AIX5L Unix operating system processed more transactions per minute than a 64-way Itanium-based Superdome server from Hewlett-Packard Co. And that will improve next year when IBM introduces the Power5 chip, which Sanchez said is expected to offer four times the performance of Power4 chips.
HP officials said that IBMs benchmark announcement offers validates their belief that the Palo Alto, Calif., companys Integrity line of Itanium-based servers are the standard to beat. "This is really a two-horse race for the enterprise business," HP spokeswoman Kathy Sowards said. In a prepared statement, Mark Hudson, vice president of HPs enterprise storage and servers, said IBMs p690 technology is "obsolete waiting for a forklift upgrade" next year. Sowards also said that HPs Itanium-based systems show high performance across the entire spectrum, from two- and four-way systems to the high end. She said new benchmarks for low and midrange Itanium-based systems will be released later this week. IBMs Sanchez said the companys pSeries servers—which run both AIX and Linux—will continue to evolve. IBM earlier this month completed the outfitting of all pSeries servers with the Power4+ chip. IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., also gives customers an option, offering both Power-based and Intel-based systems, he said. HP has a lot riding on Itanium, which has seen slow adoption. HP, which helped Intel develop Itanium, is moving to standardize on the architecture.

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