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Micron aims for high end

The PC maker jumps into the enterprise market with a line of Windows NT-based personal workstations.

    Micron Electronics (MUEI) jumped into the workstation market for the first time today, introducing a line of Windows NT-based personal workstations.

    Hewlett-Packard, meanwhile, added a new system to its Vectra line of personal workstations that has new high-performance 3D graphics technology and cut prices on current systems.

    Micron becomes the latest PC maker to enter the rapidly expanding market for Windows NT workstations. A personal workstation is basically a high-powered system based on Intel's Pentium Pro processor or the upcoming Pentium II. These systems come with high-end 3D graphics chips and are aimed for use in engineering, science, and finance.

    In 1996, the market for personal workstations grew 38 percent, a trend that will continue in 1997, according to a report by IDC Research.

    Other recent entrants into the personal workstation market include Compaq Computer (CPQ), which introduced systems late last year, and IBM (IBM).

    Micron's new Powerdigm Xli comes with dual 200-MHz Pentium Pro processors and 64MB of high quality EDO memory. The system also ships with a 4GB hard drive, a 12X CD-ROM drive, and a 1GB Jaz drive from Iomega. Customers can chose graphics accelerators from either Number Nine or Diamond Multimedia.

    A system with a 19-inch monitor is now available at prices starting at $5,499.

    In other news, Hewlett-Packard added the Vectra XW PC Workstation to its lineup of workstations. The Pentium Pro-based system raises the performance bar for 3D graphics on Windows NT workstations, according to HP.

    A new AccelGraphics graphics accelerator card based on technology developed by Evans & Sutherland gives a 5 to 15 percent performance boost over similarly priced systems from Compaq and Digital Equipment, according to Boris Elisman, marketing manager for HP's Performance Desktop Computing operation.

    Elisman says the increased performance translates into the ability to redraw and reshade complex graphical models in real time, and movement of large images appears smoother.

    HP's new systems use a single 200-MHz Pentium Pro and can be upgraded to a dual-processor system. The XW comes with 128MB of high-quality memory, 2.1 or 4.5GB SCSI hard drives, and a 16X CD-ROM drive.

    Prices for the new systems range from $8,379 to $10,998, and they can be ordered now for expected shipment by June 1.

    HP also lowered the prices on the original Vectra XW workstation, which uses a different graphics accelerator card. The system is expected to be available on May 1 for $7,879 without monitor.