Analysis: Itanium 2 performance figures

Intel recently showed performance benchmark figures for its next 64-bit chipset, the 1 GHz Itanium 2, that out-performed Sun's UltraSPARC III processor running at 1050 GHz and its own first-generation Itanium processor.

The company performed industry standard benchmark tests on the Itanium 2, the UltraSPARC III processor used in Sun's Sun Fire 15K server, and the present Itanium.

The results of testing were based on TPC-C and TPC-H tests for large databases using SAP R/3 SD enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management software, SPEC2000 CPU and Linpack 10K for high-performance computing, plus SAS' business intelligence application. In addition, Networkshop and the RSA decrypts were used to test Itanium 2 when used in security and system management systems.

In the SPEC2000 tests for bandwidth the Itanium 2 performed twice as well as its predecessor the Itanium. On ERP and online transaction processing tasks, the Itanium 2 was 2.1 and 1.7 times as fast as the Itanium. On Linpack technical computing tests, the Itanium 2 was 1.7 times as fast.

When it came to testing against the UltraSPARC III processor, Itanium 2 again pulled up ahead. In online transaction processing and ERP tests, the Itanium 2 was twice as fast. In tests that measure the number of secure transactions per second, the Itanium 2 bested Sun again - a two-way Itanium 2 at 1 GHz processed 1,440 transactions per second when compared to an eight-way 750 MHz Sun server at 552 transactions per second.

In Linpack testing, the Itanium 2 achieved 13 gigaflops to Sun's 7. On the SPECint2000 test of floating point and integer performance, the Itanium was 1.3 times as fast as Sun's UltraSPARC III; on SPECfp2000 testing, the Itanium 2 was twice as fast.

While these numbers bode well for the Itanium, it would be nice to see how the processor would play out in Sun's hands or those of an independent testing body. When the Itanium 2 is available this summer, that testing will happen.