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November 13, 2008

Measure HP's relative value of 3000 models

Confchartpic There's nothing to be bought in the 3000 marketplace now but used systems. HP has not built or delivered a new HP 3000 since early in 2004, which makes every computer sale a transaction that can be negotiated and calculated. HP has a tool to help with the calculation, an official measure of the relative performance of every HP 3000 system ever made. It's a four-year old PDF file, but it reveals a lot more than any Web-based calculator.

The figures in HP's 2004 e3000 Business Servers Configuration Guide reveal some surprising comparisons in horsepower. HP has laid out the speed ratings in a matrix, a choice which simplifies judging the horsepower of the 9x9 Series against the newer and allegedly faster A-Class and N-Class servers. The figures show why the Series 9x9s are such a great value these days. There are many more of these available 9x9s in the marketplace than used N-Class servers, since HP only built the N-Class for a couple of years at most.

As for the A-Class, almost all of it is outstripped in performance by a wide range of 9x9s. Not to slag the A-Class 3000s, but buying one of these will be influenced in large part by the age of the hardware and its ability to take on newer disc.

For example, I didn't know that the N-Class single-processor 220MHz systems run at just about the speed of a Series 959. Finding that N-4000-220-100 might be the challenge, since it was the lowest end of the N-Class line. But laying your hands on a Series 959 is easy pickings. And HP's chart shows lots of blank spots where the 9x9 servers run faster than an N-Class. Even a three-processor, 440Mhz N-Class can be matched by a Series 989-650. You will get fewer options on peripherals and greater power consumption with the 9x9s, but availability and price are swell trade-offs.

Like many documents which HP continues to host about the 3000, the Configuration Guide is a little buried. We're putting it up here on the NewsWire's blog site because HP advises everybody to download what they need for 3000 documentation. (A great alternative to the HP data, laid out in chronological fashion, is the AICS Relative Performance page on that vendor's Web site. You might use them both to judge how much bang you're buying for your buck.)

Tomorrow marks a grave anniversary for this community, a date that will spark some memories as well as congratulations for surviving as a 3000 user — even for those who survive while they find their migration is taking longer than HP predicted back in that year. But then HP has been surprised by the 3000's value and durability over and over. Understanding that a large enough Series 997 — Emerald-class systems built in the middle '90s — can beat about half of the N-Class systems shows how surprising the future can be to a Hewlett-Packard which underestimated its potential to retain customers through forced migrations.

The vendor clocked back much of the N-Class 3000 line, or we wouldn't even be talking about how a 10-year computer can still outperform one built five years ago. When the older systems run faster than the new ones, the full measure of a 3000s worth jumps outside of accepted knowledge. This community knows more about a 3000's value than HP has believed since 2001, if not before.

09:37 PM in Homesteading, News Outta HP, Web Resources | Permalink

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