Sun draws its blade
Graphics are a priority in Sun's Sun Blade™ 100 and Sun Blade 1000 workstations. Those 64-bit computers will feature Sun's Wildcat II-based Expert3D-Lite professional graphics card, which was previously available as an optional add-in, and will use Sun's Solaris 8 OS, a flavor of Unix. Just released with a 900 MHz processor, the Sun Blade 1000 is the flagship of Sun's Ultrasparc 3 workstation family, says Marketing Product Manager George Iwaki. Available with either one or two CPUs, it leverages technology from Sun's server line, such as the Fireplane Crossbar Interconnect and internal Fiberchannel disks. These allow the machine to use its CPUs to communicate without being serially linked, achieving 4.8 Gbyte/sec data throughput. And with two UPA slots, it can run two images on separate monitors, each from its own graphics card—or else run a single image spreading across the two monitors. "In the MCAD market, a typical customer would be a Boeing or a Ford, using Unigraphics, or PTC, or SDRC," Iwaki says. "And they need to fit an entire plane or an entire car onto one workstation." In August, Sun reduced the price of the 750 MHz version, and will ship a 1 GHz version of the Sun Blade 1000 in Q1, 2002.
Sun Microsystems: Enter 571
IBM's on fire (GL4)
If you need to manipulate large 3D models, IBM's new Intellistation M Pro workstations may be the answer. They use a 1.7 GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor and the new Fire GL4 graphics card, which is based on IBM's new copper chip technology. IBM claims the copper chip runs much faster than traditional aluminum, since it's smaller, denser, and cooler. "This is a pure workstation for users who need compute power, and particularly graphical compute power," says Rick Rudd, product line manager for IBM in Raleigh, NC. "So to begin the design process, we looked at the leading edge of components. We looked at it as finding the highest uni-processor price-performance we could get on a Wintel system." Once they had settled on a Pentium 4 platform, Rudd's team picked a chip set, and then a graphics card. 3Dlabs had the fastest card at that time, but IBM wanted a more stable supply, so they chose the Fire GL4, which has since caught up on performance, Rudd says. The final product was designed from the start to run mechanical CAD apps, as well as financial software, digital media, and animation. They're also cheaper to manufacture, says Intellistation Marketing Director Doug Oathout. "This new graphics card offers high-end performance and function at a lower price."
IBM: Enter 572
Are you ready for the max?
The Pentium 4 will also be inside UMAX Technologies' (Fremont, CA) P414, a graphics-optimized PC that is designed for gamers and imaging professionals and is priced at just $898. It will feature 128 Mbytes of RDRAM, a 400 MHz system bus, and a serious graphics card (NVIDIA's TNT2 M64 32Mbyte 4x AGP card).
UMAX Technologies: Enter 573
X4000 was born to simulate
Hewlett Packard is introducing the Linux version of its x2000 and x4000 workstations, joining the company's other Linux-based workstations, pL-class and xL-class (which are Intel Pentium 3-based systems). The x2000 is based on Intel's 1.7 GHz 850 Pentium 4, for mechanical design engineers and finance professionals running memory-intensive applications that demand high transfer rates. The x4000 is based on the 1.7 GHz 860 Pentium Xeon (32-bit) processor, with dual processors and twice as much RAM, designed for professional engineers, designers, artists and digital content creators, and for applications such as simulations and virtual prototyping. With a 400MHz bus, it has three times the data transfer bandwidth—and 71% overall better performance—than HP's previous, Pentium III-based, dual-processor system. Graphics cards for this system range from the entry-level, 2D Matrox G450 to the high-end OpenGL ATI Fire GL4. Also, HP is using the Intel® Pentium® 4 2GHz processor in its Vectra vl800 "high end" business desktops, x2000 technical workstations, and Pavilion home PCs.
Hewlett Packard: Enter 574