Hewlett-Packard will launch a range of high end, digital prototyping workstations next week in the US, putting it on a collision course with 3D animation market king Silicon Graphics.
HP's decision to target what is generally regarded as a niche market, follows hot on the heels of Compaq's workstation market entry and Dell's decision to enter the market later this year.
A source close to HP suggested that the company was looking to get into developing niches which are currently controlled by manufacturers outside of the Wintel architecture.
It chose the 3D animation and graphics market because of "favourable forecasts" according to the source. These forecasts also show that Silicon Graphics is vulnerable and unable to compete with the stronger, faster and cheaper Wintel workstations, despite a large installed base.
HP's workstations are expected to be based on the PixelFlow graphics acceleration architecture developed at the University of North Carolina, following HP's acquisition of the technology last year from UK firm Division Group. The workstations will run HP-UX but further spec and pricing will be not be made available until next week.