IBM is boosted its IntelliStation PC line on Wednesday, rolling out workstation-worthy computers priced like desktops. IBM says its entry-level E Pro line starts at around £1,000, but can handle processor-intensive tasks such as video editing, 3D modelling, and computer-aided design.
Also new are the M Pro and Z Pro workstations, which support dual or single processors. The two systems are the first to feature Fire GL2 graphic cards, which are based on less expensive copper chip technology and help keep down the prices of these high-end systems. All the systems ship with Microsoft Windows 2000, but you can switch to Windows NT, which is also preinstalled.
IBM representatives say they hope the E Pro will strike a cord with cost-conscious design businesses that need affordable power for data-intensive tasks. The system ships with an 800MHz Intel Pentium III, 64MB of SDRAM (expandable to 1.5GB), a 15GB hard disk, a 48X/20X CD-ROM, Matrox G40 Millennium video card with 16MB video memory, and an ethernet card.
The E Pro ships as a rack-mountable minitower with five PCI slots and seven bays for component add-ons. The E Pro is also available in a desktop model with four bays, three PCI slots, and an AGP slot.
IBM's M Pro workstations support single or dual Intel Pentium III processors running as fast as 1GHz. The $2423 (around £1,800) IntelliStation comes with a PIII 800MHz processor, 256MB of memory, a 15GB hard disk, a Matrox Millennium G400 video card with 16MB of video memory, a 48X/20X CD-ROM drive, and an Ethernet card.
Z Pro pricing starts at $3900 (around £2,500) with systems supporting one or two Intel Pentium III Xeon 1GHz processors. That configuration includes 256MB of memory, a 15GB hard drive, Matrox G450 graphics card with 16MB of video memory and dual-display support, a 48X/20X CD-ROM drive, and an Ethernet card. The Z Pro is designed to be scalable, with six PCI slots, one AGP Pro slot, and nine bays.
IBM's IntelliStation line has enjoyed 29 per cent growth in worldwide PC workstation shipments in the second quarter of 2000, according to IDC. Rival Dell Computer saw 8 per cent growth in the same time frame.
Some of that success is attributed to strong sales among companies working in CAD and electronic design automation, which has been IBM's focus in its business-class workstation line. In September, IBM inked a deal with Avid Technology to bundle Avid Xpress video-editing software with select IBM workstations.
Hewlett-Packard and Compaq have seen their market share slide, however. Analysts say workstation supplies are stretched due to shortages of Rambus memory and the recall of Intel's 820 chip set.