Yes, these benchmarks used RAMDISKs. Opteron's on-die memory controller gave it quite a boost in that scenario; it is conceivable that that might not be the case in other scenarios. But quite impressive, nonetheless!!!
Actually, the system price for a full-blown dual 1.5Ghz Itanium 2 workstation with, say, 4GB system memory and great components can reach 20,000 fairly easily.
According to dell, a 1.4Ghz, 1.5MB cache dual Itanium workstation with 4GB memory costs US$12,500. A 1.5Ghz, 6MB cache (state-of-the-art) dual workstation costs US$20,300 or so. HP's offering aren't much cheaper either... But these are excellently configured, with SCSI hard drives and great video cards... So an equivalent Opteron system (2x248) won't be cheap at all, considering a 4GB, SCSI-HD-equipped, professional workstation video card-equipped workstation... Cheaper than the Itanium, that's for sure, but they're radically different beasts!!!!
Someone ought to compare them thoroughly someday...