A spate of activity at today?s Siggraph exhibition in Los Angeles is set to divide workstation vendors, with Silicon Graphics pushing out a superfast Mips Risc processor, while Intel attempts to dominate the show with X86.
Intel is making its play for the workstation market by demonstrating its X86-based Pentium II/300 machines as a solution for Cad designers. Backed by Compaq and now Dell, it is aiming to dent the traditionally conservative and Risc-based workstation sector.
Silicon Graphics responded to that push by lowering prices on its existing Octane workstation line but is rolling in a series today based on the 200MHz Mips processor, which will allow concurrent use for high end graphics users.
Despite Intel?s avowed aim to topple Sun and SGI from the workstation market, sources say many of the chip designers employed by the company still use these products because of their fast graphics and installed software base.
In other developments expected at the conference today, many vendors, including Microsoft, Netscape and SGI, are set to introduce 3D software offerings. But running those on existing Pentium IIs is difficult because, so far, the platform only supports two processors. Fast processing will have to wait until February 1998 when Slot II technology from Intel is scheduled to arrive.
Many of the machines introduced at Siggraph today depend on accelerator cards, chips and chipsets to achieve fast speeds. But Microsoft has, at last, bought into the MMX concept and will preview a number of offerings including Microsoft Flight Simulator 1998. This now includes 3,000 cities across the world with 3D graphic renderings from above and for the first time Microsoft is including a helicoptor as an optional vehicle of virtual choice.
The show continues until Thursday this week.
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