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Sun Launches sub-000 Solaris Workstation

By Jeffrey Meltzer (Send Email)
Posted Feb 28, 2001


By Brian Proffitt bproffitt@internet.com

The Sun Blade 100 workstation, which has Solaris 8 preinstalled, has a base configuration price of 95 US, breaking the sub-000 price point. This hardware offering renews Sun's commitment made three years ago with the release of the Ultra 5 and Ultra 10 workstations to offer workstation platforms at a high volume and a low price. Users who are craving 64-bit functionality without coughing up a lot of cash may have the chance to fulfill their desires following yesterday's launch of the Sun Blade 100 from Sun Microsystems.

Sun is targeting the Sun Blade 100 at several key markets, according to George Iwaki, Senior Product Manager, Technical Market Products Group. First and foremost, Sun's largest market for this platform is the software development market, which needs full 64-bit software and hardware solutions, Iwaki emphasized.

One strong development area for the new workstation would be developing Web content that would work in tandem with Sun's Web server offerings.

Another customer base is in the electronic data automation space, where users often complain of breaking 32-bit systems because of low virtual and physical memory, Iwaki explained.

MCAD/MCAE markets will also benefit from the 3D graphics card that is an option for the Sun Blade 100. Education and research users will have interoperability with existing systems as well, particularly in light of the optional SunPCi II coprocessor card.

The SunPCi II card, which ships for an additional 95, enables users to run Windows applications alongside Solaris apps on the same machine.

Sun's positioning of the Sun Blade 100 on the price scale is a clear blow to its closest competitors. Hewlett Packard's lowest-priced 64-bit system is about five times the price of the Sun Blade 100 workstation's base price. The only thing that come close to price, Iwaki stated, is the Dell 220 PC, which is a 32-bit system with just half of the Sun Blade 100's 2-Gb memory capacity.

Along with the 2Gb of potential main memory, the Sun Blade 100 features a 500-MHz UltraSPARC-IIe CPU, up to 30 Gb hard disk space via two 15-Gb,7200-rpm internal disk drives, a high-speed CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, and floppy drives. The workstation also includes USB and IEEE 1394 (Firewire) ports.

The base graphics offering is the Sun PGX64 2-D graphics card with 8 Mb of SGRAM, but the Sun Blade 100 will also support the new Sun Expert3D-Lite card, which was also announced Wednesday.

Sun's launch of the Sun Blade 100 is sure to have an effect on the workstation market. "We're trying to provide workstation and 64-bit power at PC-level pricing," said Shahin Khan, Vice President of Product Marketing and Planning System Products Group.

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