At least until the VR10000 arrives, Hewlett-Packard Co looks to be king of the heap with its 64-bit Precision Architecture PA-8000 RISC, which it plans to introduce in a range of high-end workstations with new graphics subsystems at the beginning of next year. They are being designed to go up against the likes of Sun Microsystems Inc’s new Ultra 1. Hewlett-Packard is already touting system-level performance at 8.6 SPECint95 and 15 SPECfp95. It puts those numbers up against SPEC95 estimates for rivals that it gleaned from the microprocessor trade books, showing IBM Corp’s 167MHz PowerPC 604 at 6.0 and 5.0 respectively, Sun’s 143MHz UltraSparc I at 5.1 and 7.4, Digital Equipment Corp’s 300MHz Alpha at 7.3 and 11.6 and the R10000 at 7.4 and 15. Sun says the comparisons are completely misleading and it doesn’t have SPEC95 numbers for UltraSparc I in any case. The list does not include Pentium Pro, but Intel Corp pegs that at 8.09 and 6.75 so Hewlett does appear to be ahead of the game this week. By the time PA-8000 is around next year Sun says it will be playing with UltraSparc II units, expected to do 8.5 to 10 SPECint95 and 15 to 18 SPECfp95. Hewlett last week turned PA-8000 chips over to its system partners in the Precision RISC Organisation supporters club.