The last decade has witnessed a rapid proliferation of superscalar cache-based microprocessors to build high-end capability and capacity computers primarily because of their generality, scalability, and cost effectiveness. However, the recent development of massively parallel vector systems is having a significant effect on the supercomputing landscape. In this paper, we compare the performance of the recently-released Cray X1 vector system with that of the cacheless NEC SX-6 vector machine, and the superscalar cache-based IBM Power3 and Power4 architectures for scientific applications. Overall results demonstrate that the X1 is quite promising, but performance improvements are expected as the hardware, systems software, and numerical libraries mature. Code reengineering to effectively utilize the complex architecture may also lead to significant efficiency enhancements.