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Intergraph NT servers target Compaq

The workstation vendor announces two new Windows NT servers today to take on Compaq.

Workstation vendor Intergraph announced new Windows NT servers today to compete with arch rival Compaq.

As reported by CNET's NEWS.COM on June 9, the InterServe 650tx and 660tx can be configured with two to four 200-MHz Pentium Pro processors. They include space for up to 4GB of memory.

The servers are slated to ship in July.

Starting at an estimated street price of $24,500, the servers are competitive in price with similar offerings from other vendors. The InterServe 650tx and InterServe 660tx have base-memory configurations starting at 64MB. The servers also include dual power supplies, extensive server monitoring features, advanced "UltraWide RAID" storage technology, and three 4GB or three 9GB UltraWide hot-pluggable hard drives.

Another strength for the server line lies in Intergraph's experience with graphics, said Jerry Sheridan, director and principal analyst at Dataquest. Both servers will come installed with graphics accelerator cards from Matrox. "A lot of workstations have it installed, but not many server people in the Intel space," he said. "Intergraph has a long history in graphics and it is leveraging that."

The switch from Unix to NT presents an opportunity and a curse for high-end vendors. On the one hand, the lower price points for NT servers broaden the market for hardware manufacturers. On the other hand, gross margins are lower, forcing vendors to increase sales to maintain profits.

"With RISC/Unix, the gross margin is around 70 percent. With NT, you're lucky if you can get 50 percent in the Intel world, and that's for high-end servers," he said.

Although Intergraph's revenues have been relatively static for the past couple of years, server revenues have been climbing steadily. Last quarter, the company tripled its server unit sales compared to the same quarter the year before, Simpson added.

"They get tremendous value out of their hardware. Their Web angle is that their machines are fast enough for ISPs" said Harry Fenik, vice president at Zona Research. "These will probably play in a similar class as a [Digital Equipment] server, with a singular advantage: They will run any NT program."

A base configuration with 128MB of memory, RAID storage, dual power supplies, three 4GB hard drives, Windows NT Server 4.0, and InterSite monitoring and management tools will have a street price of approximately $24,500.