SUN PEPS WORKSTATION CONFIGURATIONS, CUTS PRICES.
Getting more aggressive in the face of the growing number of
Windows NT workstations on offer, Sun Microsystems Inc will this week
cut prices and re-jig configurations at the low-end of its Solaris Unix
workstation line as well as reduce prices on graphics and peripherals.
The $2,500 Ultra 5 'bid box' uses a 270MHz UltraSparc II and
now includes on-board 24-bit graphics and a faster disk. It will also
offer a 333MHz version with 2Mb L2 cache and 128Mb RAM for $3,700 -
effectively a higher-end U10 deskside in a pizza box housing which it
says customers have asked for. The 333MHz U10 is $4,300 with 128Mb RAM.
It has also put the 360MHz UltraSparc II into the U10 form factor - the
360MHz chip uses a higher-performance 120MHz Ultra Port Architecture bus. With 256Mb RAM and Elite 3D m3 graphics the box costs $8,000
compared with the $10,000 tag on the previous high- end U10
configuration. Sun says many EDA users are now shifting front-end
workstation tasks on to back-end Solaris servers that support a greater
number of ASICs, to free up budgets for other workstation purchases.
Many are moving from 2D to 3D solutions as they make the transition from
wireframe to solid modeling design applications. The 10-month old Elite
3D m6 graphics accelerators are now $5,000, from $7,285; m3 is $3,400
from $4,530; the three year-old Creator 3D is $1,380 down from $1,200.
Every base configuration now ships with 128Mb RAM and Sun says its PCI
bus workstations are now on six-month upgrade cycles. It calls Sbus -
used only in the Ult ra 2 - a "legacy" architecture. Research
company Dataquest says Sun leads sales in the combined Unix and NT
workstation market. It estimates that in the second quarter of 1998 Sun
did $930.2m on workstations (29.9% of the $3.11bn workstation market);
compa red with Hewlett-Packard Co's $833.8m, which includes NT