"What's different about this server -- and indeed the OpenPower line in general -- is that IBM is taking on x86 price points with a RISC-based server line. And, in the case of POWER5, that means better than x86 performance and a very good, and cost-effective, server virtualization option. By contrast, both HP (NYSE: HPQ) Latest News about Hewlett-Packard and Sun largely depend on their x86 lines to attack entry-level price points." - Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff.
The server is intended as a good choice for data center consolidation, and beats both the HP Itanium 2 rx1620 and rx2620 in terms of raw performance. IBM have also done extensive work to optimise 250 applications to run on the server, and claim that peak performance of the two-way SPECompM2001 beats the Sun Opteron V40z.