Computer Business Review

DEC COMPROMISES ALPHA CASE WITH PENTIUM PRO NT MACHINES

by CBR Staff Writer| 23 September 1996

Convinced that Unix-based workstation sales are now on terminal decline, Digital Equipment Corp is launching second generation Windows NT graphics desktops today, Monday. The first generation AlphaXL and CelebrisXL stations first appeared this time last year (CI No 2,755). The new versions have been renamed the Digital Personal Workstation series, the packaging moves away from DEC's traditional magnolia to frost-white color, and you don't need a screwdriver to upgrade the motherboard. Out immediately are three Pentium Pro models, the 180MHz 180i, 200MHz 200i and dual processor 200i 2, with prices starting from $4,000. Alpha RISC versions, probably using 466MHz and 500MHz parts, will emerge later in the year. All run DEC's Powerstorm gr aphics accelerators. DEC's Andy Clark claimed the Alpha versions were maintaining a two-to-one performance advantage over Intel, and said that most of the essential applications - such as Pro Engineer, Matra, SoftImage, Microstation and Intergraph Corp's Solid Edge - would run on both versions. Those that only work on Pentium Pro, such as AutoCAD, can use DEC's FX! emulator-translator, which will be bundled in free with the Alpha-based systems. NT-based machines work out both cheaper and faster than Unix equivalents, said Clark, and have the advantage of running Windows applications native. The latest International Data Corp figures suggest Unix workstation sales have slowed from 11% per annum last year to 8% now, while the NT market is growing 60% a year. DEC's own Unix workstation sales may suffer from the new launch, but so, it says, will everyone else's.

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