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SGI plans Intel workstations

Silicon Graphics will enter the Intel-based workstation market later in 1998 using a superfast second-generation Pentium II chip.

Silicon Graphics is planning to enter the Intel-processor-based workstation market in 1998 with a second-generation Pentium II chip.

The Silicon Graphics (SGI) Intel workstations will run the Windows NT operating system and are expected sometime in the second half of 1998, possibly in the third quarter, said an SGI spokesperson.

The SGI workstations are expected to use Intel's upcoming Deschutes Pentium II processor, said a source familiar with SGI's plans. Deschutes is expected to be released next year, at speeds starting at 300 MHz. Eventually, speeds should reach 400 MHz and beyond.

This move is an imperative for SGI. "The workstation market is only growing because of NT," said the spokesperson.

For the most part, SGI currently offers pricey workstations based on a 64-bit MIPS processor architecture running SGI's Unix operating system. SGI systems are generally priced above $10,000 and feature high-performance 3D graphics technology, the company's trademark.

Though pricing is not yet available for the upcoming Intel systems, workstations from Intel PC vendors such as Compaq are typically much less expensive than traditional workstations from vendors such as SGI and Sun Microsystems.

SGI will differentiate the Intel systems with high-performance graphics technology, SGI said.