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HP draws up new workstations

Hewlett-Packard announces both new graphics workstations which provide an upgrade path to Intel's future P7 processor and high-end technical servers.

    Hewlett-Packard (HWP) is set to announce next week a slew of graphics workstations which provide an upgrade path to Intel's future P7 processor. The company is also announcing high-end technical servers.

    All systems are built around HP's PA-RISC architecture, a RISC processor platform for high-end HP computers.

    HP's new workstations include the B-Class, which will replace midrange HP 712 and HP 715 systems. These existing midrange 700 series will receive price cuts up to 52 percent and now serve as HP's entry level graphics workstations. Also, additional models in the existing C- and J-Class lines are being introduced to round out the lineups.

    "There is a tremendous growth in NT solutions in the technical space, however, there is still a fair ways for them to go before they catch up," according to Diana Headrick, product manager for midrange workstations and power desktops at HP. She also says that by moving their former midrange system into the entry level ($7,000 to $9,000) range, there is no price penalty for choosing Unix over NT.

    The Visualize B-Class systems support up to 768MB memory and 4GB of internal disk space. An entry level B132L with 132-MHz PA-7300LC processor, 32MB of RAM, 2GB disk and 17-inch monitor will sell for $10,840, while the B160L with 160-MHz PA-7300LC processor will sell for $16,480. The B160L also includes 1MB second level cache (optional on the B132L) for additional performance gains.

    Graphics capabilities on the B-class include the standard Visualize EG, optional Visualize -8 and -24 3D graphics, as well as Visualize-IVX, a system used in medical and satellite imaging.

    The addition of the C160L model to the C-Class lineup provides a lower price point with the use of the PA-7300LC processor while offering memory expansion up to 1GB, up to 6GB of disk space and the option of Visualize-48 3D graphics systems. The C160L with 32MB RAM, 17-inch monitor, and 2GB disk is being offered at $19,480.

    Applications running on previous machines can run on the new models without recompiling, HP said.

    A significant addition to the J-class is support for HP's newest PA-8000 processor. Moreover, the J280 supports upcoming Intel P7 processors. The J280 comes with a 180-MHz PA-8000 processor, 64MB RAM (expandable up to 2GB) and 2GB disk. While the J280 comes as a uniprocessor system, it is SMP enabled and will be upgradeable to a two-way system by mid-1997. It will sell for $38,520 and comes with a 20-inch monitor.

    In the high-performance technical-servers arena, HP's new offerings in the Exemplar series include the X-Class model that supports up to 64 PA-8000 processors and the S-Class model that supports up to 16 processors.

    HP says that the S-Class technical server with 16 CPU's has a peak performance of 11.5GFLOPS (millions of floating point operations per second), and a X-Class with 64 CPU's can perform at up to 46GFLOPS. The S-Class is aimed more at mechanical, electronic design and petroleum exploration applications, HP says, while the X-Class is for technical and scientific applications. The Exemplar systems also can be scaled up to 512 CPU's and 512GB of physical memory.

    A fully configured four processor S-Class is $189,000, and an X-Class (which comes with 16 processors) will sell for between $720,000 and $3 million.

    All Visualize workstations are currently available, while HP says that the S-Class server is expected to ship in January of 1997. The X-Class will be available in May of 1997, with orders now being taken.