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RDI Computer Corp. introduces PowerLite 85; first portable SPARC workstation to combine 85-MHz speed with multi-gigabyte storage and an accelerated high-resolution display.

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 31, 1995--Portable workstation pioneer RDI Computer Corp. Tuesday introduced the PowerLite 85, the first SPARC-based portable workstation to combine desktop-class features -- 85-MHz performance, multi-gigabyte mass storage capacity and an accelerated high-resolution display -- in a lightweight, notebook-sized system.

Powered by the 85-MHz microSPARC II microprocessor, the PowerLite 85 integrates up to 2.4 GB of internal hard disk storage capacity (4.4 GB with external options), TGX graphics accleration, an internal floppy drive, fax modem, and an optional 10.4-inch, 1024x768 high-resolution flat panel color display, in a compact 8.5 pound, 2.2x12.75x11.18-inch package.

Found in no other portable workstation, this exceptional combination of components and features is designed to allow mobile users to take full advantage of software engineering, financial modeling, electronic design automation (EDA), computer-aided design (CAD) and other system-intensive applications traditionally bound to the desktop.

"Portable workstations require strength in four areas -- processor speed, graphics acceleration, disk capacity and screen resolution -- to provide the desktop-equivalent capabilities workstation users need to run compute- and graphics-intensive applications," said U.C. Moon, president, RDI.

"The PowerLite 85 not only meets these customer requirements, but incorporates a full-sized keyboard, up to 96 MB of memory and network connection tools workstation users may not expect in a notebook-sized system."

Using enabling hardware and operating system technology from Sun STB and SunSoft respectively, the PowerLite 85 provides 100 percent compatibility with Solaris and SunOS applications. Additionally, RDI conducted an extensive and rigorous beta test program with numerous corporate sites, including SunSoft, and large UNIX distributors.

"RDI is committed to developing a family of portable, SPARC-compatible products for the traditional desktop workstation market," said Moon. "The PowerLite 85 is the first product of that line to meet all the requirements of traditional desktop workstation users."


The feature set incorporated in the PowerLite 85 was specifically designed to support those workstation users requiring desktop-class capabilities for field and remote operation of graphics- and compute-intensive applications. These applications include, among others:

-- software engineering and demonstration

-- mechanical computer-aided design (MCAD) engineering and analysis

-- MCAD drafting and design

-- electronic design automation (EDA)

-- economic/financial modeling

-- government/defense

-- geoscience/geoengineering

-- higher education

Bundled with an unmodified Solaris 1.1.2 or optional 2.4 operating system, the PowerLite 85 is fully compatible with thousands of Solaris and SunOS applications. PowerLite 85 users are also ensured compatibility with networking standards and protocols ONC, NFS, TCP/IP, SunNet, OSI and MHS.

"UNIX workstation users have thought that using traditional workstation applications on a portable workstation required a sacrifice of performance or functionality," said Bob Shields, director of marketing. "With the PowerLite 85, the only real difference between a desktop and portable workstation is size and weight."

System features and performance

With performance ratings of 64-SPECint92 and 54.6-SPECfp92, the PowerLite 85 is unrivaled in portable workstations and incorporates:

-- High-resolution display. For graphic-intensive applications, such as mechanical computer-aided (MCAD) drafting and design, the PowerLite 85 users have the choice of purchasing one of two display options: the 1024x768 flat panel color display or the Colorplus 640.480 active matrix LCD.

The most advanced LCD panel available on portable workstations, the 1024x768 display provides a palette of 512 colors, of which 256 can be displayed simultaneously; 8 grayscale levels; a .20-mm dot pitch and 120 dot per inch density.

For image applications requiring precision color and tone rendering, such as medical imaging, the Colorplus 640x480 display features a palette of 262,000 colors, of which 256 can be displayed simultaneously; 64 grayscale levels; a .33-mm dot pitch and 77 dot per inch density.

In addition, the PowerLite 85 is compatible with a number of external displays. For group presentations, the PowerLite 85 connects to external Sun monitors, PC monitors or overhead projection panels of up to 1280x1024 pixels.

-- Multi-gigabyte mass storage. A number of standard configurations are available for users to customize storage capacity from 520 MB up to 4.4 GB. In its base configuration, the PowerLite 85 is available with a single 520 MB or 810 MB hard drive, both featuring a 14-ms average seek time. Two additional hard disk drives of up to 810 GB each may be added to provide a total internal capacity of 2.4 GB (the third drive replaces the floppy disk drive).

An optional Peripheral Expansion Unit (PXU) provides two 3.5-inch low profile peripheral expansion bays for an additional 2 GB of mass storage, two standard SBus slots and power supply, for a total available system capacity of 4.4 GB.

-- Expandable memory. To take full advantage of memory-intensive applications, the PowerLite 85 is offered with three memory configurations: 32 MB (standard), 64 MB and 96 MB. Cache memory is 8 KB and 16 KB for data and instruction, respectively.

--Standard interfaces and keyboard. For ease of expansion and compatibility with industry-standard connections, the PowerLite 85 includes SBus expansion slots when used with the PXU; a standard 10-BaseT AUI interface for Ethernet connection; a 10-MB/sec SCSI-2 port (synchronous); two RS-232C serial ports; a Centronics-compatible parallel port; 8-bit audio connection (with internal speaker and microphone); and 13W3 D-type connector for an external monitor.

The PowerLite 85 also integrates a three-button, 16-mm trackball and full-size Sun-4 or Sun-5 keyboard for greater ease of use.

Virtual workgroup architecture

Bundled with the PowerLite 85 is RDI's Virtual Workgroup Architecture (VWA), a Motif-based framework of software tools for automatic network connection, network administration and internal fax/modem operation. Version 1.1 of VWA includes a DHCP-based network connection and management tool (AutoNET), a fax tool (XpressFax) for use with the system's internal 14.4 K/bps V.32bis modem, a remote mail retrieval tool, and various system management features.

Availability, pricing and support

The PowerLite 85 is available now. Pricing starts at $11,995. Every PowerLite 85 is backed by a one-year warranty, extendable with a variety of service contracts available from RDI. The company's products are sold worldwide through an indirect channel of national and international distributors and resellers. The reseller support organization is backed by RDI's headquarters customer support center in Carlsbad, Calif. In North America, RDI has agreements with three distributors; Sun Microsystems Federal Division, SunExpress and Access Graphics.

RDI Computer designs, develops, manufactures and distributes a diverse line of portable Sun SPARC-based workstations. RDI's products balance the power of full desktop workstation functionality with the flexibility of mobile computing.

With headquarters in Carlsbad, RDI has U.S. sales offices in New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Los Angeles. A European sales and service office is located in Germany. For sales information, the company can be reached at 619/929-0992 or 800/RDI-LITE, or e-mail: sales(at-sign)

NOTE TO EDITORS: PowerLite and Colorplus are trademarks or registered trademarks of RDI Computer Corp. Sun, SunOS, Solaris, Sun-4, Sun-5, ONC, SunNet, OpenWindows, and NFS are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems Inc. All SPARC trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of SPARC International, Inc. microSPARC is licensed exclusively to Sun Microsystems, Inc. XpressFax is a trademark or registered trademark of Andataco. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

CONTACT: RDI Computer Corp., San Diego

Laura Jordan, 619/929-0992



Catherine Batchelor or Connie Roloff, 619/450-0030
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jan 31, 1995
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