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HP touts new Xeon workstations

Hewlett-Packard beefs up the top end of its workstation line with a system featuring the new Pentium II Xeon chip.

Hewlett-Packard introduced two new top-end workstations today based on Intel's fastest Pentium II Xeon chip.

The two new workstations step into the high end of HP's Kayak series. Both systems come with 128MB of memory, a high-performance 9.1GB hard disk, and the Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 operating system. Both systems also support the addition of a second Xeon processor.

The Kayak XW workstation, with an estimated street price of $8,266, is set up for 3D designers, said Lisa Hahn, a spokeswoman for HP. It comes with HP's high-powered Visualize fx6 video subsystem, which supports OpenGL 3-D graphics and has six dedicated processors for floating point calculations. This type of calculation is used for specialized number-crunching in high-end workstations.

The Kayak XU has an estimated street price of $4,450 and comes with the ELSA Gloria Synergy+ graphics card. It's designed to be a fast 2-D workstation for software development, financial analysis, electrical design, or mechanical design, Hahn said.

Compared to an ordinary Pentium II, the Xeon chip has more "secondary cache," a high-speed memory chip that boosts a computer's performance. In addition, the cache runs faster in a Pentium II Xeon than in an ordinary Pentium II.

Intel announced the 450-MHz Xeon chip last week, and several companies, including Dell, Compaq , Gateway, and Intergraph, announced workstations based on the new chip.

Intel is aiming the Xeon workstations at the market currently occupied by workstations running the Unix operating system.