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HP adds to NT workstation line

Hewlett-Packard will add new models to the Visualize line called "Personal Workstations," a family of high-performance, Windows NT-based systems.

Hewlett-Packard is making moves to stay at the top of the Windows NT workstation heap, including new systems in what was a Unix-only product line and price cuts on existing models.

Hewlett-Packard is next week adding new models to the Visualize line called "Personal Workstations," a family of high-performance, Windows NT-based systems featuring Intel's Pentium III and Pentium III Xeon processors. Previously, the Visualize workstation line only featured Unix systems with HP's PA-RISC processors.

HP said the changes reflect that the still young market for NT-based workstations is starting to mature.

"We're opting to go after an emerging piece of the Windows NT workstation space that is similar in terms of needs to traditional Unix customers," said Dave Morse, NT workstation manager for the workstation systems division. He said a high-end segment of the NT-based personal workstation market could account for as much as 25 percent of the larger non-Unix workstation market.

The Visualize line will be distinguished from the Kayak line of workstations primarily by its graphics cards; the new products will receive the high-end Visualize fx+ graphics subsystems, which won't be available on the Kayak workstations.

The new systems will be priced starting at $3,225 for a 450-MHz Pentium III. Systems with the fx+ graphics cards will be priced starting at $5,355, while a system with 550-MHz Pentium III Xeon processor and top-line fx6+ graphics card is priced starting at $8,915.

Morse said HP's workstation division will target these customers, some of whom are transitioning away from Unix systems, while the Kayak line, under the direction a different HP division, will serve the needs of the rest of the NT workstation market.

The new Visualize Personal Workstation systems, as is the case with its existing Unix workstations, will be manufactured on a build-to-order basis, sold through HP's workstation systems division.

In related news, HP said it is reducing prices on 10 Kayak workstation models by as much as nine percent. The models feature Pentium II, Pentium III, Pentium II Xeon, or Pentium III Xeon chips.

Xeon processors are faster than standard Pentium II chips because of an enhanced cache memory architecture.

A Kayak XU with a 450-MHz Pentium III chip, 9.1GB hard drive, 128 MB of memory, and a Matrox Millennium graphics chip, has been reduced by nine percent to $3,360. A 500-MHz model is now $3,690, a cut of eight percent.

Models with Pentium II and Pentium III Xeon processors saw similar price reductions. For example, a Pentium II Xeon 450-MHz model with an Evans and Sutherland AccelGALAXY graphics subsystem was cut eight percent to $5,180.