IBM believes that with the launch of its new IntelliStation, it is releasing a whole new category of PCs.
The Pentium II and Pentium Pro-based systems are aimed at commercial users running mechanical and electronic CAD, digital media content creation and other applications.
"The professional workstation fits in between the Unix technical workstation and the traditional PC," said Murali Raman, IBM's brand business manager for commercial desktop systems, AP South. "If you look at the Unix workstation users, the general premise is that they are using RISC-based processors and Unix operating systems, and they are using applications which are graphics intensive.
"You also have traditional Intel-based PCs that run Microsoft operating systems, and there are users there that are comfortable with the degree of working that presents, but they are looking to move upwards in terms of some of the operating requirements of applications," said Raman.
The IntelliStations are designed to fill the gap between these two requirements, with a high-powered solution based around NT and at a cost significantly lower than a Unix workstation.
There are two machines in the IntelliStation category. The M Pro comes with a 266MHz Pentium II processor, with a choice of 64Mb, 128Mb or 512Mb RAM. Onboard storage is a 4.3Gb Wide Ultra SCSI drive. Estimated street price ranges from $6852 to $12,385.
The Z Pro comes with a 200MHz Pentium Pro with dual processor capability, RAM up to 1Gb and predictive failure analysis on the hard drives with ESP ranging from $5642 to $11,786.
Both units come with 512K integrated cache, 16x CD-ROM drive, Wake on LAN-compatible network cards, Sound Blaster compatible audio support and a choice of high-performance video cards.
The standard operating system is Windows NT 4.0, and the units both come preloaded with a lot of applications and manageability software. The new PCs are available through IBM's traditional PC distributors, as well as its RISC system VARs.