HP, IBM Aim Workstations at Graphics-Intensive Tasks

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2002-11-18

Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM are taking aim at highly technical users of graphics-intensive workloads this week with new midrange and high-end workstations, some of which are based on a new processor and chip sets from Intel Corp.

HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., is revamping its workstation line to complete the integration of its workstation offerings with those of Compaq Computer Corp., which it acquired in May.

The entry-level HP x1100 and Compaq Evo W4000 will be replaced by the new xw4000, a single-processor Intel Pentium 4-based system. It includes two-dimensional and OpenGL three-dimensional graphics capabilities.

The midrange xw5000 workstation will incorporate Intels E7205 chip set, which the chip maker is introducing this week. The workstation will offer dual-channel DDR (double-data-rate) memory. The xw6000, another midrange offering, comes with Intels E7505 chip set and dual Xeon processors for multitasking and multithreaded applications.

HPs high-end workstation, the xw8000, uses the same chip set and dual Xeon processors and comes with more memory, according to HP officials. The Intel-based workstations can support both Windows and Linux.

The xw4000 and xw6000 are available immediately, priced starting at $875 for the xw4000. The xw5000 and xw8000 will be available next month.

HP also is unveiling two RISC-based workstations—the c3750 and j6750—that feature the companys new PA-8700+ 875MHz chip for Unix users. Company officials said these systems further prove that HP, which has said it will eventually migrate all its hardware to Intels Itanium architecture, will continue to support RISC-based users. Both systems are available now, with pricing starting at $13,994 for the c3750.

Kate Sullivan, an analyst with International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass., said the new workstations combine the individual strengths HP and Compaq had in the workstation space. "As far as post-merger HP goes, the technical computing area is probably one of the most compelling areas for HP because they and Compaq came at it with different strengths," Sullivan said.

Separately, IBM is announcing two Intel-based workstations and a third new offering featuring its own 64-bit Power4 processor. Like HPs workstations, IBMs give users flexibility in what processors they want to use and which operating systems—Windows, Unix or Linux—they want to support.

The Armonk, N.Y., company is announcing the rack-mountable midrange IntelliStation M Pro 6219, starting at $2,335, that includes 2-D and 3-D graphics accelerators, up to 4GB of dual-channel DDR memory and Intels new 3GHz Pentium 4 processor. The high-end Z Pro 6221, in a compact minitower, includes dual Intel Xeon processors up to 2.8GHz with more support for multitasking and multithreaded applications. The Z Pro 6221 starts at $3,189.

IBM also is rolling out the Intelli- Station Power p630 based on the Power4 that includes up to 16GB of error- correcting code memory and a choice of 3-D graphics adapters. Pricing starts at $12,495, without a graphics card.

Microsoft Joins Enterprise Instant Messaging Fray

Key features of MSN Messenger Connect for Enterprises:

  • Communicates with 75 million MSN Messenger users outside the firewall

  • Provides identity management and administration

  • Includes logging and auditing tools from FaceTime and IMlogic

  • Integrates with Exchange 2000 IM services; will integrate with upcoming Greenwich real-time communications platform

  • Rocket Fuel