HP takes on Compaq in NT workstations

Hewlett-Packard (HP) yesterday announced a new line of Intel-based 'personal workstations' that run Windows NT 4.0, marking a wide sweep away from its RISC/Unix strategy.

The new products will be sold under the Vectra XW name, starting with a base configuration of 200MHz Pentium Pro, 256Kb cache, 64Mb (expandable to 512Mb) ECC DIMM RAM, 2Gb Ultra-SCSI hard drive, eight-speed CD-ROM drive, AccelPRO TX 2500 3D graphics, 21-inch monitor, Fast Ethernet card and integral SoundBlaster 16-compatible audio, at a street price of about £8,400 + VAT. Dual-Pentium Pro systems will also be available.

HP said it was aiming the products at CAD/CAM professionals seeking a lower-cost package than could be provided by the RISC/Unix combination. As such it will take on newcomers to the category, notably Compaq, who are looking to break into the workstation market by pre-packaged Pentium Pro/NT units. Like Compaq, HP said that it is planning to attract Unix independent software vendors to port products to NT and certify systems as appropriate for use. Parametric Technology, EDS/Unigraphics and Structural Dynamics are among those to have signed up for HP certification.

HP said that the move would not affect its participation in the RISC/Unix arena, but said that it expects faster growth to come from personal workstations. IDC market research suggests compound growth of 43.5 per cent between 1995 and the year 2000. That would equal more than four million units shipping in the year 2000.

HP can be contacted by telephone on 01344-360000.

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