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In this paper we present a comprehensive performance evaluation of three high speed cluster interconnects: Infini-Band, Myrinet and Quadrics. We propose a set of micro-benchmarks to characterize different performance aspects of these interconnects. Our micro-benchmark suite includes not only traditional tests and performance parameters, but also those specifically tailored to the interconnects advanced features such as user-level access for performing communication and remote direct memory access. In order to explore the full communication capability of the interconnects, we have implemented the micro-benchmark suite at the low level messaging layer provided by each interconnect. Our performance results show that all three interconnects achieve low latency, high bandwidth and low host overhead. However, they show quite different performance behaviors when handling completion notification, unbalanced communication patterns and different communication buffer reuse patterns.