IBM unveils 'world's fastest computing workstation'

Competition in the workstation market is heating up as IBM unveiled its latest offering, the UNIX-based RS/6000 44 P Model 170 - proclaiming it the world's fastest low-end UNIX-based computing workstation.

Competition in the workstation market is heating up as IBM unveiled its latest offering, the UNIX-based RS/6000 44 P Model 170 - proclaiming it the world's fastest low-end UNIX-based computing workstation.

(SCMP.com) - With a pair of enhancements – a faster 450MHz Power3 II processor from IBM's Microelectronics division and a recently launched IBM GXT6000P graphics board – the entry-level Model 170 workstation is designed for graphics-intensive activities, such as product design work.

Aeroplane manufacturers could use the machine for flight simulations to test new aircraft features, while auto makers could use the Model 170 to design new cars.

The new 450MHz Power3 II processor chip offers 64-bit addressing and uses IBM's copper metal manufacturing process, meaning that the workstation can deal with larger amounts of memory than a standard 32-bit computer, such as a desktop PC.

IBM also flaunted its beefed-up GXT6000P graphics board, which the company said offered nearly three times the performance of its successor, the GXT3000P board.

The newest member of IBM's graphics family, the GXT6000P graphics card adapter is designed with 3D graphics and engineering applications in mind.

IBM also pitted this new machine against systems made by workstation rivals, saying that the Model 170 "outperforms comparable Sun, HP and SGI UNIX systems in key benchmarks, including SPECviewperf OpenGL industry standardized performance measurements".

SPECviewperf was created under Standard Performance Evaluation Co-operative's banner as a measure of 3D capabilities for workstations.

SPECviewperf is a series of real world OpenGL application benchmarks developed by software vendors Alias, WaveFront, Intergraph, Discreet, Parametric Technology, Solids Works and IBM.

OpenGL (Graphics Library) is the cross-platform software interface to graphics hardware and supports most 3D graphics visualization and design applications.

Entry price for the base Model 170, which has a 300MHz Power 3 chip, 256MB RAM and a 9GB hard drive, is US$10,495.

The latest Model 170 teams the 450MHz Power 3 chip with up to 2GB of RAM, a 146GB hard drive and the graphics board for about US$30,000.

IBM said customers could also upgrade their previously purchased Model 170 workstations to the new 450MHz Power3 II chip and GXT6000P graphics board.

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