Sun has launched a range of new Unix workstations,and announced price cuts on existing systems.
Meanwhile, rivals Hewlett-Packard and Intergraph are planning to launch their new workstations based on the Windows NT platform.
As part of its attempt to fight off the NT market, Sun slashed the price of its lower-end workstation to under #2,000. The Ultra 5 is now under #2,000 and prices on the Ultra 10 dropped to #3,280. Sun is shipping these machines with Solaris preinstalled.
Simon Tindall, workstation market manager for Sun, said: "The notion that NT workstations are cheaper is a myth. As other Unix vendors like HP continue to force their customers down the NT route, we become the only viable alternative."
Sun's workstations are shipping now.
Sun has also increased the performance level of its high-end workstation, based on the UltraSPARC microprocessor, by raising the clock speed from 300MHz to 360MHz and doubling the cache to 4Mb on the Ultra 60 model.
The new 360MHz workstation is useful for customers who require power for the most demanding scientific and technical applications. The list price on this machine remains at #11,500 despite the added speed.
The McLaren Formula One racing team uses the Ultra 60 workstation to reduce the processing time of computational fluid dynamics work. "We are now able to run an analysis that normally took four days, 24 hours per day, in three days with the new 360MHz Ultra 60 workstation," said Kevin Masterson, technical computer manager at McLaren International.
HP's latest Kayak workstation, due in June, will feature Intel's 350MHz and 400MHz Pentium II processors along with the 440BX chip set. HP refused to confirm the pricing of these workstations.
Later this month, Intergraph will launch the TDZ 2000 GL2 workstation with a 400MHz Pentium II processor, 62Mb of RAM, a 4.3Gb hard drive and AccelStar II graphics with 8Mb of graphics memory. It will cost #2,460.
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