When the business of UK workstation builder Whitechapel Workstations Ltd went under the hammer back in May last year, its engineering team went on to the Southwark, London based firm Algorithmics Ltd, and the rights to its technology were bought by a group of European investors with capital raised from Barron International Holdings of Gibralter […]
When the business of UK workstation builder Whitechapel Workstations Ltd went under the hammer back in May last year, its engineering team went on to the Southwark, London based firm Algorithmics Ltd, and the rights to its technology were bought by a group of European investors with capital raised from Barron International Holdings of Gibralter (CI No 1,218). With the backing of these European investors, a new company, Mistral Computer Systems Ltd was set up at Whitechapel’s old headquarters in Bracknell, Berkshire, and took over the task of selling the Hitech-10 workstation, built around MIPS Computer Systems R2000 RISC chip. A year on, Mistral yesterday revealed in London its first product since the Hitech-10 – a MIPS R3000-based workstation rated at 20 MIPS and tagged at UKP20,000, and announced the acquisition of the workstation software arm, but not the personal computer part, of Milton Keynes based Amazon Computers for an undisclosed sum, again raised from the same European investors. The Mistral-20 workstation uses a 25MHz R3000 processor and runs Unix System V.3 with BSD 4.3 extensions. It comes with 8Mb RAM expandable to 40Mb, up to 600Mb disk, Ethernet, a 16 or 19 colour monitor and X Window – Mistral is awaiting a decision from X/Open before settling on a user interface, but expects to be offering Motif in the future anyway. The Mistral-20 was designed by the same Whitechapel engineering team – now at Algorithmics – and the firm says that R6000 systems running Unix V.4 will emerge in time. They are being manufactured by Konstanz-based ComputerTechnik Muller GmbH, which was acquired by two former Commodore executives in June and is now a free-standing company (CI No 959) – though Mistral stresses that this single source will soon be complemented by others. There are presently around 100 Hitech-10 workstations installed in specialist markets, and the Mistral-20 is being targetted into the same areas – particularly three-dimensional graphics and animation and finite element modelling. Amazon’s software business – with around 60 staff – will continue to operate as before under the terms of the acquisition, which will be completed in two weeks, but Mistral, currently with a payroll of six, now owns the assets of its UK, French and West German operations, and managing director Bob Haire, formerly of Whitechapel, says it is negotiating deals with other European hardware and software houses. The Mistral-20 is set to make its public debut at next week’s Computer Graphics show to be held at London’s Alexandra Palace.