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HP holds on to some Evo workstations

The company says it plans to keep Compaq's midrange and low-priced workstations while merging others such as the high-end Evo W8000 and its similar HP x4000.

Hewlett-Packard continues to work out its workstation product plans.

The company, which closed its multibillion-dollar merger with Compaq on Friday and announced its post-merger product plans Tuesday, originally had said that only its future workstation product line would carry the HP brand. The implication was that the company would phase out Compaq's Evo workstation line.

HP now says that it plans to offer a total of four workstations. It will keep some of Compaq's midrange and low-priced workstations even as it does away with the Evo W8000, a high-end machine based on Intel Xeon chips, in favor of a similarly designed, new dual-processor product that includes elements of both the W8000 and HP's own x4000. The new dual-processor workstation will become HP's highest-performance model available.

HP will continue to manufacture the Compaq Evo W6000 and Evo W4000, with no design changes, but it will re-brand them as HP products that emphasize more affordable performance and a lower price, respectively, a company representative said.

Meanwhile, HP will combine its x1100 and x2100 workstations into one workstation, a single processor offering that will be a step up from the current W4000.

HP will continue offering the current workstations for their originally planned product life cycles.

A workstation is a beefed-up desktop PC, developed for use by engineers or designers who are creating products or rendering graphics. The machines, which generally cost a bit more than a desktop, use the best-available components and often support dual processors.

The workstation market has suffered along with the PC market, which declined by about 5 percent during 2001. Workstation shipments for the first quarter of 2002 dropped by 5.4 percent worldwide from the first quarter of 2001, due in part to the slow economy, according to a recent report by Gartner.

HP's workstation strategy fits with its plans for other products such as servers, which is to offer the strongest possible post-merger product lineup, without regard to which company designed which products.

When it comes to servers, for example, HP has said that it will keep Compaq's ProLiant line of servers, but re-brand them as HP ProLiant. The ProLiant industry-standard server, a machine based on Intel chips and the Windows or Linux operating system, is No. 1 in market share in its category. However, HP will phase out Compaq's Itanium-based ProLiant machine in favor of its own next-generation Itanium 2 machine.