I figured Affymetrix's (Nasdaq: AFFX) lackluster growth would extend to the entire laboratory supply industry, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Competitor Illumina (Nasdaq: ILMN) smashed expectations on Tuesday.

The biochip maker saw revenue shoot up 69% year over year and 8% sequentially in the first quarter. Adjusted income was even more impressive, jumping 77% year over year.

Instrument sales were up 127% year over year and, while they tend to fetch a lower gross margin, they'll drive sales of higher-margin consumables that make the machines run in future quarters. The idea, made famous by Gillette, is used by great companies like Intuitive Surgical (Nasdaq: ISRG), and it certainly seems to be working for Illlumina -- consumables were up an equally impressive 63%.

Not only is the company selling more instruments, it's also making instruments that work faster -- eating more reagents per day than the slower machines could. Its newest offering, the iScan, is six times faster than its old BeadStation. Now, granted, most labs won't instantly have six times as many samples to run after upgrading to the iScan, but as the technology catches on, I think we'll see more iScans running at full speed.

While there's little not to like about Illumina's growth, its price compared to its peers still leaves something to be desired. Illumina is expecting revenue this year to come in between $515 million and $535 million -- about 5% more than Affymetrix's newly updated guidance -- yet investors are valuing Illumina at almost 6 times its competitor. Granted, Illumina is expecting revenue growth in the 40%-46% range this year, compared to Affymetrix's 8%-13%, but the difference in market caps still seems rather extreme.

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Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.