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Compaq workstations are going Hollywood

The company snags a deal, which was previously held by IBM, to sell Evo workstations to Avid Technology, a company whose products are used by most TV networks and movie studios.

Compaq Computer is pretty avid about a new deal to sell its Evo workstations.

The PC maker on Tuesday announced it has signed an agreement with software maker Avid Technology estimated to be worth $17 million per year.

Avid's products are used by most TV networks and movie studios to create and edit video and special effects, among other things. The company, which creates hardware and software packages for its customers, will pair Compaq hardware with its own Media Composer, Symphony and Xpress software applications.

The result will be custom-configured Compaq Evo Workstation W8000 models with 1.7GHz Intel Xeon processors that come loaded with one of the Avid applications. Workstations are essentially beefed-up desktop PCs, usually offering single- and dual-processor options, larger amounts of memory, bigger and faster hard drives, and better graphics than what is offered on most consumer PCs.

Avid also offers a number of products for Apple Computer systems, including the PowerMac G4 desktop.

Compaq expects that the deal will result in sales of more than 4,000 workstations per year.

Mike Winkler, executive vice president in charge of Compaq's global business units, characterized the deal as a win on both the monetary and public relations fronts.

The announcement, he said, helps "to show that the erosion of our customer base to Dell and Sun is fallacious," he said. Since Compaq entered into an agreement to merge with Hewlett-Packard last September, many analysts have said Compaq has lost PC market share to Dell Computer.

see special coverage: Big iron: HP to buy Compaq Buttressing Winkler's argument, Compaq has recently announced several large contract wins, including a $200 to $250 million deal with Raytheon, a $150 million agreement with Ericsson, and a $1.5 billion to $2 billion pact with the U.S. Postal Service.

IBM previously held the Avid account.

In related news, video game maker Electronic Arts said it has standardized on Advanced Micro Devices' Athlon processor, recommending Athlon XP and Athlon MP-based desktops and workstations for its studios around the world.