Silicon Graphics (SGI), is planning to revolutionise the workstation with yesterday's release of its Intel and Windows-based visual products, Silicon Graphics 320 and Silicon Graphics 540.
Claiming to combine the high-end visual computing capabilities and professional graphics and media functionality on the desktop, SGI are targeting a much broader user base than the traditional niche studios.
And according to Canberra reseller Storm FX, the claims have merit. "This is the biggest single jump of visuals on computers since the PC -- they are three years ahead of their time," asserts Gavin Longhurst, sales and marketing director of Storm FX.
"These products are going to become a core part of our business in the next year," predicts Longhurst, who envisages the total conquest of the visual market by SGI in the near future.
Longhurst's excitement stems from the workstation's integration of features that typically require add-on pieces. Additionally the hardware has a built in predilection for "big graphic images".
Longhurst claims that the chips are the same as in any PC, but the "guts of the machine" are specifically designed for visual operations.
Longhurst agrees that SGI's strategy of moving out of the niche market and into more general territory will be effective.
"You won't see secretaries using them but TV stations, graphic studios, the medical industry, architects and other industries will all use it."
Storm FX has already sold 10 units to a film educational institution in Canberra.
"These products are cheap, especially compared to the fastest PC on the market at the moment, which with CD carding can go for $11,000. SGI visual workstations are selling for $13,000, which is cheaper than competitors Integraft are offering."