NEC's new Express 5800 server has broken the TPC-E benchmark performance record with a score about 70 percent higher than the current leading machine, the Tokyo company has said.

But there's another record the company isn't as keen to promote: the server has set a new low in cost-to-performance, significantly below the previous bottom-ranked machine.

TPC-E is a new benchmark from the Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) that simulates online transactions at a brokerage. Customers generate transactions, account inquiries and market research and the firm interacts with the customers in the simulation. Like other benchmarks, it is intended to provide a meaningful and comparable measurement of how a server responds under load. To date benchmarks on eight machines are available.

The NEC Express 5800 scored 1,126.49 transactions per second (tpsE) during the test, which is 70 percent higher than the Unisys ES7000, according to the results.

When ranked by cost performance the NEC machine comes in at $2,771.79 (£1,350) for each of those transactions per second measured. That's more than three times the top cost performing Dell PE2900, which ranked at $788.69 (£375) per tpsE, and far below the next-to-bottom ranked IBM Blade Center HS21 XM at $1,897.66 (£1,400) per tpsE.

The system being test cost a cool $3.1 million (£1.5 million).

It had 32 dual-core Intel Itanium 9150N processors running at 1.6GHz for a total of 64 processor cores. There was 512GB of memory and is was running Microsoft's Windows Server 2008 for Itanium and the SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition for Itanium database software. It will be available from 30 August this year.