Compaq Computer Corp is set to announce a new range of high end Windows NT workstations on Monday, which could represent the first serious threat to mainstream Unix vendors and their RISC- based machines. Compaq hopes the workstations will enable it to pitch itself right into the market for professional computer aided design and compute-intensive […]
Compaq Computer Corp is set to announce a new range of high end Windows NT workstations on Monday, which could represent the first serious threat to mainstream Unix vendors and their RISC- based machines. Compaq hopes the workstations will enable it to pitch itself right into the market for professional computer aided design and compute-intensive imaging and video applications. Compaq, which first launched into the workstation business last year with its entry-level 5000 Series (CI No 3,034), is to introduce two new workstation lines, the Professional Workstation 6000 and 8000. Both Professional Workstations are Intel-based, and both use Compaq’s own multi- processing Highly Parallel System Architecture, which in the 8000 range will support up to four 200Mhz Pentium Pro processors, say sources. The 1Gbps dual memory buses and PCI buses are said to provide independent access to the CPU and memory at a peak aggregate bandwidth of 267Mbps. Compaq is expected to claim it can offer twice the throughput of any other NT workstation. The 6000 range will support up to two 266Mhz or 300Mhz Pentium IIs, has 512Kb cache, and up to 512Mb memory. The parallel system architecture uses dual memory buses to increase bandwidth, and Compaq looks set to argue that its architecture dramatically increases performance by processing instructions between each CPU and subsystems, such as graphics and disk drives, in parallel. Graphics options, however, are likely to include the more usual PC-oriented Matrox Millennium chip, along with the higher performance Diamond Fire GL 4000, which uses technology from Evans & Sutherland Inc. Hewlett-Packard Co is one of the companies increasingly worried about Compaq’s encroachment into workstations, but Compaq hasn’t been able to do what HP was most fearing: license high-end graphics software from Silicon Graphics Inc. Support from CAE/CAD heavyweights such as Oxford Molecular and Parametric is expected. Meantime, Compaq told Reuters it has no plans to use Cyrix Corp’s Pentium II competitor, the 6x68MX, even though it already uses a previous part, MediaGX, in sub- $1,000 PCs.