Local PC maker wastes no time in launching NT 4 workstation

Auckland-based PC Direct plans to release a Microsoft Windows NT 4.0-based workstation, the 670Ax, at the end of the month.

PC Direct plans to release a Microsoft Windows NT 4.0-based workstation, the 670Ax, at the end of the month.

Aimed at the corporate workstation market, the 670Ax will feature the Intel Pentium Pro processor, with options ranging from 150MHz to 200MHz. The machines will ship with 32Mb of RAM standard, 2Mb of video RAM and hard drives starting at 1.2Gb. The 660Ax starts at $3299 plus gst for the entry-level, 150MHz option.

According to Richard Moss, Auckland-based PC Direct's product manager, although the machines may initially ship with NT 3.51, users will receive a free upgrade as soon as NT 4.0 is available.

Other major workstation vendors used last week's Siggraph graphics conference, held in New Orleans, as a launchpad for their NT 4.0-based offerings.

With interest in Microsoft's Windows NT 4.0 building rapidly since the announcement of the product's launch towards the end of the month, vendors including Digital, IBM, Compaq and Hewlett-Packard showed off their NT-capable products designed for running engineering and scientific applications.

Digital will announce both Alpha-based NT products and Intel-based graphics workstations. The Alpha product will use Digital's new 500MHz chip, while the Intel machine will feature single and dual-processors using a 200MHz Pentium Pro chip. Units are expected to be ready to ship in September.

IBM also confirmed it will announce single and dual-processor products for the September time-frame based on the 200MHz Pentium Pro chip. The systems will include either the 3Demon graphics card from Omnicomp Graphics or a graphics board from Maxtor, as well as remote management and configuration software called Wake-on-LAN.

Compaq is hoping NT's popularity will enable it to siphon some market share from Unix workstation vendors, and to that end has established a workstation business division within its enterprise computing group. Before the end of the year, the division plans to announce a full line-up of products that will be based on Intel's Pentium Pro architecture and Windows NT 4.0.

Company officials say they are counting on their workstations' open-standard architecture to ensure more enticing price points compared with those on proprietary Unix and RISC-processor-based systems.

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