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The suitability of next-generation high-performance computing systems for petascale simulations will depend on various performance factors attributable to processor, memory, local and global network, and input/output characteristics. In this paper, we evaluate performance of new dual-core SGI Altix 4700, quad-core SGI Altix ICE 8200, and dual-core IBM POWER5+ systems. To measure performance, we used micro-benchmarks from High Performance Computing Challenge (HPCC), NAS Parallel Benchmarks (NPB), and four real-world applications- three from computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and one from climate modeling. We used the micro-benchmarks to develop a controlled understanding of individual system components, then analyzed and interpreted performance of the NPBs and applications. We also explored the hybrid programming model (MPI+OpenMP) using multi-zone NPBs and the CFD application OVERFLOW-2. Achievable application performance is compared across the systems. For the ICE platform, we also investigated the effect of memory bandwidth on performance by testing 1, 2, 4, and 8 cores per node.