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AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Officials at ROSS Technology (Nasdaq-NNM: RTEC), based here, today confirmed media reports that its hyperSPARC microprocessors were used in the "RenderFarm" created by Sun Microsystems and Pixar Animation Studios to produce the final rendering of Walt Disney Pictures' "ToyStory." "ToyStory" is the world's first feature-length computer-animated film and the leading box office draw since its release two weeks ago.

The film, written, produced and directed by Pixar, Point Richmond, Calif., had its final image rendered on a "workstation farm" of 87 dual- processor and 30 quad-processor SPARCstation 20 systems, each powered by ROSS Technology's 100 MHz or 125 MHz hyperSPARC microprocessors.

That Pixar selected the SPARCstation hardware platform from Sun Microsystems over competing systems from Silicon Graphics was something of a surprise as SGI has had a dominant presence in the film and video production industries. According to Pixar executives, SGI systems were used for some aspects of the film's production but the multiprocessor SPARCstation 20 systems were selected because of their cost-efficiencies and performance advantage on the computationally-intensive rendering application. ROSS has supplied microprocessors for Sun's multiprocessor workstations since the first models were introduced in October 1991. "Pixar's use of the SPARCstation 20 systems to create the final rendering of `Toy Story' is a classic demonstration of the computational benefits of multiprocessing and the cost-efficiencies of systems designed to be field-upgradeable," said Matt Gutierrez, director of product marketing for ROSS.

"Our collaborative multiprocessing work with Sun Microsystems goes back to the SPARCserver 600 series of multiprocessing systems, introduced in 1991," said Gutierrez. "The SPARCserver 600 series was also the first product family from Sun to incorporate the MBus standard, a significant advance that enabled multiprocessing and field upgradeability of workstations," he said.

The MBus standard, detailing interconnection of the microprocessor with main memory and I/O devices, cooperatively developed by Sun and ROSS, was also released in 1991. The MBus form factor consists of a daughtercard, populated with the microprocessor and secondary cache components, plugged into the system's motherboard. Each daughtercard can accommodate up to two microprocessors, and each motherboard can accommodate up to two daughtercards.

The SPARC architecture, along with SunSoft's Solaris operating system, has facilitated the migration of multiprocessing to servers and workstations. Multiprocessing, the execution of computer instructions and computations over multiple microprocessors within a single computer system, was historically accomplished by duplicating expensive hardware such as memory and input-output (I/O) subsystems. This form of "distributed memory" processing was expensive and typically found only in mainframes and minicomputers. As SPARC and Solaris have evolved, "shared-memory" multiprocessing has become a significant segment of the server market, and a small but growing segment of the desktop workstation market.

Users of MBus-based systems can upgrade their machines by installing daughtercards containing higher-performing microprocessors. The upgrade procedure, according to ROSS officials, can be performed by the end- user, and typically takes 30 minutes or less.

"Multiprocessing and the MBus standard, without question, have dramatically reduced the cost of running computationally-intensive applications," said Gutierrez. "First, each multiprocessing system delivers two-to-four times the processing power of a single-processor- based system, at a price significantly less than the cost of an equal number of single-processor systems. Second, the upgradeability enabled by the MBus standard obviates the need for the user to purchase new workstations, resulting in enormous cost-savings," he said.

Additional information about ROSS Technology is available on the company's World Wide Web site at or via E-mail to International customers may call or fax for more information at 512-349-3108 and 512-349-3101, respectively.

ROSS was incorporated in 1988 and is a majority-owned subsidiary of Fujitsu, Ltd. Functioning autonomously under the Fujitsu corporate umbrella, ROSS is fully responsible for all operational aspects of its SPARC programs. The company's objective is to drive SPARC, the industry's highest volume reduced instruction set computing (RISC) architecture, to increased performance leadership and marketshare in the 1990s. ROSS is one of the industry's most prominent suppliers of SPARC microprocessors and microprocessor-related products to both the OEM and end-user markets. Its OEM customers include Sun Microsystems, Fujitsu, PFU, ICL, Axil, Tatung and Auspex. The company's stock is traded on the Nasdaq National Market System under the symbol "RTEC."

NOTE: ROSS and the ROSS logo are registered trademarks of ROSS Technology, Inc. All SPARC trademarks, including the SCD-Compliant logo, are trademarks or registered trademarks of SPARC International. hyperSPARC is licensed exclusively to ROSS Technology, Inc. SPARCstation and SPARCserver are licensed exclusively to Sun Microsystems, Inc. Solaris, SunSoft and SunOS are registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. Products bearing SPARC trademarks are based on an architecture developed by Sun Microsystems, Inc. All other products or service names herein are trademarks of their respective owners.
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/CONTACT: John Rasco, MarCom Manager of ROSS Technology, 512-892-7802, ext. 549/


CO: ROSS Technology ST: Texas IN: CPR SU:

KL-BB -- LAW011 -- 5177 12/06/95 12:02 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 6, 1995

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