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Workstations push speed limit

Two new 300-MHz Pentium II workstations and a 500-MHz Alpha workstation from Tri-Star address the need for speed.

It's Megahertz madness at Tri-Star Computer.

The Tempe, Arizona-based manufacturer today released two 300-MHz Pentium II workstations and a 500-MHz Alpha workstation. The new product lineup puts Tri-Star at the leading edge of processor speed.

The new StarStation II and StudioStation II are available in single- or dual-Pentium II configurations and feature 64 to 1024MB EDO Ram, 512 L2 cache, five PCI slots, and one expansion slot. In addition, the systems come with an Ultra/Wide SCSI-3 controller, 2.1 to 9.1GB SCSI-3 hard drives, and a 17- or 21-inch monitor. The systems start at $5,995.

By contrast, PowerStation incorporates a 433- to 500-MHz Alpha microprocessor from Digital (DEC) and the Alpha version of Windows NT for workstations. The PowerStation also comes with a 3.2 EIDE to 90-GB drive, 1 to 2MB Level 2 SRAM cache, and optional 10/100 Ethernet. The PowerStation starts at $3,995.

Rolling out its new line of products on Windows NT puts Tri-Star in the thick of the workstation majority. Vendors and customers are increasingly turning to Windows NT as a way to decrease hardware costs and unify corporate platforms. According to a recent study by Dataquest, Unix-based workstations grew 10 percent in the first quarter over a year ago, while Windows NT-based workstations shot up 242 percent.

Tri-Star specializes in workstations for the mechanical engineering and 3D graphics markets. Unlike most vendors in this category, the company sells the bulk of its machines through direct mail catalogs.