Computer Business Review

DEC BURNS WORKSTATION RIVALS TO WIN BACK SHARE

by CBR Staff Writer| 20 April 1993

As expected (CI No 2,150), Digital Equipment Corp yesterday wheeled out three new members of its Alpha AXP RISC-based workstation family, claiming they are respectively the fastest Unix workstations available for under UKP5,000, UKP10,000 and at any price. The 64-bit machines are pitched aggressively at competing offerings from Sun Microsystems Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co and IBM Corp. The low-end DEC 3000 Model 300L desktop uses a 100MHz Alpha CPU and is rated at 44.9 SPECint92 and 63.3 SPECfp92. It comes with from 32Mb to 64Mb RAM (256Mb by the end of the year using 16Mb DRAMs) and is available as a diskless system or configured with 426Mb storage, with HX8Plane two-dimensional graphics. A diskless model with a 17 monochrome screen lists at UKP4,900 - $5,000 - UKP5,300 with 426Mb disk - or UKP6,500 with a 16 colour screen and 426Mb disk. DEC is pitching the diskless system against Sun's SparcClassic, Hewlett's 715/33 and the IBM RS/6000 M20. The desktop Model 300 uses a 150MHz Alpha part and is rated at 66.2 SPECint92 and 91.5 SPECfp92. With 32Mb to 62Mb RAM (again, 256Mb by year-end), it is priced at UKP9,700 with 1Gb disk, a 19 monochrome screen and HX8Plane graphics. With a 16 colour screen prices start at UKP10,000 - $10,000 - a 19 colour system is UKP11,950. DEC compares this system with the SunClassic LX, HP 715/50 and RS/6000 355. The high-end desk-side Model 500X uses a 200MHz Alpha CPU and is rated at 110.9 SPECint92 and 164.1 SPECfp92. Described as the world's fastest uniprocessor workstation, it comes with from 64Mb to 256Mb RAM (1Gb by the next quarter using 16Mb DRAMs) and up to 4.2 GB disk. With 64Mb memory, 1Gb disk, 19 colour screen and two-dimensional graphics it is priced at UKP39,000. With 96Mb RAM, 2Gb disk, 19 colour screen and HX8Plane, PXG three-dimensional graphics, prices start at UKP47,600 - $70,000. DEC sees Hewlett's 755 and IBM's Model 580 as nearest rivals for the 500X. All three systems are available from May 1 and come with a two-user licence for OSF/1 1.2, Motif and TCP/IP or Open VMS Alpha AXP base licence, Open VMS one user licence and NAS 250 licence. DEC claims 100 applications up on its OSF/1 implementation now. A further 400 are promised within six weeks, whilst a total of 2,000 are now committed, it says. PixelVision, a three-dimensional graphics subsystem is due later this year. A level one implementation will be UKP5,000, level 2 is UKP12,000. Also coming on stream is Kubota Pacific Corp's Alpha-based Denali graphics subsystem. Existing DEC 3000 stations are mid-range models 400 and 500.

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