Compaq, looking to drum up new business, yesterday entered the high-end workstation market and launched its first range of flat-panel monitors.
The monitors have already curried favour with investment bank BZW, which is buying 1,200 units.
Expanding on its line of low-end workstations, the Compaq Professional Workstation 6000 and 8000 families are aimed primarily at the CAD and financial services markets populated by Unix vendors such as Sun and Hewlett-Packard.
Sue Forkin, enterprise product manager for Compaq in the UK, commented: "Compaq is pushing further into a market which has been the exclusive domain of proprietary Unix solutions. These new workstation ranges combine the performance and scalability required for computer and resource-intensive applications with the flexibility of the Windows NT operating system at drastically lower price points.
"We expect to see a continued slide away from Unix in favour of standard-based NT workstations, and Compaq leads this trend."
In the CAD/CAE application Pro/E Bench97 benchmarks, developed by Texas Instruments, the Compaq Professional Workstation 6000 outperformed Sun's Ultra2 Creator3D and Silicon Graphics O2 R10000 Graphic workstations in terms of price/performance.
The Workstation 6000 and 8000 families offer faster processors than the Workstation 5000 line and more advanced graphics capabilities. They are priced at between #3,535 and #10,440.
Meanwhile, Compaq jumped into the flat panel monitor market with the launch of the TFT 500. According to Compaq, the device offers the same viewing area as a 17in monitor, but takes up less than half the space.
BZW, part of the Barclays Group, has placed an order for 1,200 displays.
The company is already a major Compaq customer, having recently deployed several thousand of its Professional Workstations at its Canary Wharf offices.
Peter Golden, technical director at BZW, commented: "Flat panels allow us to save significant amounts of desk space in our trading rooms. They are also more efficient, with one third of the energy consumption and heat output of a CRT monitor."
Neil Dagger, options product marketing manager at Compaq, said: "Financial dealers wanted a monitor that was phone proof - they often throw their phones at the screen when they lose a deal, so they need to be tough."
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