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HP bumps up 3000 performance ratings

New measurement units don't make systems faster, but compare high-end better

HP wants you to think of HP 3000s as faster than ever, but its new rating measurements don’t really make existing systems any faster. They just sport higher numbers than they did last month.

HP 3000 product planning manager Dave Snow explained that HP is “restating” the performance rankings for much of its hardware, starting with this month’s rollout of the Series 989 systems. The new rating is an HP 3000 Performance Unit, not based on Series 918 performance. And the new numbers are between 29 and 52 percent higher for all systems except HP’s largest ones, the Series 996 and 997 units.

All ratings in new HP 3000
Performance Units
Model New Rating Percentage increase
918 1.3 30
928 1.8 29
968 2.8 43
978 3.4 31
988 5.1 31
939/020 4.6 39
969/120 6.7 40
969/220 12.4 48
969/320 17.5 52
969/420 21.5 47
979/100 7.9 41
979/200 14.6 51
979/300 19.5 48
979/400 24.4 46
Snow said the changes make the ratings more accurate across the board. It’s a more important issue now that the top of the midrange lineup can outperform the 99x systems

“For the last year we have realized the measuring techniques for our midrange and high-end platforms were producing results that were not consistent with each other,” Snow said. “You had a 918 performance for the midrange and a different relative performance for the high end, but the two relative performance numbers weren’t the same.”

The discrepancy was a big deal, he added, “but it was a big deal we could sort of live with, so long as the 9x9 and 99x performances were dramatically different from each other,” Snow said. “As we added performance to the 9x9 platform, it is approaching the 99x. That’s caused us to have this quandary. In some sense we’ve had two different sets of 918 numbers. We had to bite the bullet and reconcile the numbers.

For example, the performance rating of the Series 969/320 system was increased by 52 percent, from 11.5 to 17.5. Even the lowly Series 918 had its number adjusted to 1.3 from 1.0. It’s no longer the baseline for the 3000, in part because it won’t be around forever

“There will come a time when the 918 won’t exist anymore, sometime in the future,” Snow said. “It’s not imminent, but there’s no guarantee there will be a 918 around 10 years from now.”

HP decided to rename its speed measure the HP 3000 Performance Unit, much like Digital came up with the VAX Performance Unit several years ago. It’s a common move in markets like the 3000’s – where a large installed base hasn’t seen an industry-standard benchmark in years, but upgrades between boxes often.

Snow was straightforward about the actual impact to the customer. “It doesn’t mean there’s been an increase in performance,” he said. “The performance of all these platforms is still the same.” Only the numbers have been changed, to portray the actual relative speed of HP systems.

The numbers explain one significant change for HP customers, Snow added. Core user license pricing for the Series 9x9 and Series 99x systems are the same. “You have the opportunity to gain close to the same on the midrange as you do on the high end,” he said. Deciding on a purchase between the top of the 9x9 line and 99x systems is now more clearly a matter of IO expandability using the new numbers – a point HP made previously in its 99x hardware introductions.

Copyright 1998 The 3000 NewsWire. All rights reserved