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RISC vendors are at war against Intel Pentium Pro workstations, and the winner is … you. To wit, Digital and Polywell have shipped high-performance NT/Alpha "personal" workstations that offer you an intriguing alternative to NT/Intel desktop systems.
Digital's new Personal Workstation 433a and 500a are positioned for designers, animators, content developers, engineers and other technical professionals. The two systems-which feature 433MHz and 500MHz Alpha microprocessors, respectively-include 64MB of synchronous DRAM (expandable to 384MB), an ultrawide SCSI disk controller, 2.1GB hard drive, 8X EIDE CD-ROM drive, 10BaseT/10Base2 Ethernet card and integrated 16-bit audio.
An AccelGraphics AccelPro 2500 graphics accelerator comes with the 500a, and is optional for the 433a. Each model includes Windows NT Workstation 4.0 and FX!32, a type of translation software that lets Alpha run most 32-bit Wintel (Windows on Intel) applications at up to 70 percent native Intel performance, according to Digital.
Meanwhile, Polywell offers up its 550/500C RISC workstation. The company says the system is ideal for running 3-D graphics, video editing, animation and CAD/CAM applications on the desktop, as well as SQL databases and intranet applications on the server. The Polywell system includes a 500MHz Alpha microprocessor, 128MB of ECC RAM, 4.3GB ultra wide/ultra fast SCSI-3 hard drive, 4MB Stealth 64 S3-968 PCI Graphic Card, 10/100Mbps Ethernet connectivity, 6X CD-ROM drive, 300-watt power supply, FX!32 and Windows NT Workstation 4.0. The system can also run Linux, Digital UNIX and Open VMS.
Incidentally, neither Digital nor Polywell is betting all its chips on the Alpha processor-both companies also offer Pentium Pro/NT workstations.
Digital Personal Workstation 433a, from $4,995; 500a, from $10,000
Polywell 550/500c RISC from $9,995