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Digital trims workstation prices

Digital nips prices on its entire line of personal workstations by up to 10 percent.

Digital (DEC) today nipped prices on its entire line of personal workstations by up to 10 percent.

The price cuts apply to systems with Digital's Alpha processor as well as Intel-based workstations, and are part of Digital's strategy to bring prices of Alpha offerings in line with those found in the PC workstation market.

A system with a 300-MHz Pentium II processor, the Windows NT operating system, and 64MB of memory is now priced at $4,100, while a system with a 333-MHz Pentium II processor and 128MB of memory is priced at $5,000. Digital says the 500-MHz Alpha-based workstation with 256MB of memory is now priced at $5,200.

Digital's "personal" workstations are offered either with the Windows NT operating system or the Unix operating system. A personal workstation has generally been defined as a high-powered system based on Intel processors that uses the Windows NT operating system.

Such personal workstations are typically being pitted against Unix workstations with RISC processors such as Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard, which have traditionally dominated these markets.

Digital, meanwhile, is attempting to market systems with both the Alpha RISC processor or Intel's Pentium processors to latch onto the growth of the Windows NT platform while appeasing the traditional workstation customer with its Unix offerings.

Digital has adopted a similar strategy for its recently revamped its Windows NT server lineup. The company includes servers based on Intel processors and on Digital's own Alpha chips. This marks a break from the practice of dividing names for server lines along chip architecture boundaries, and may also signal a shift toward the Intel chip architecture for Digital.

In January, Compaq announced plans to buy Digital for $9.6 billion, raising questions about the long-term viability of the Alpha chip as well as Digital's line of PCs. The two companies have yet to announce plans for Digital's product roadmap.