High-end visual computing specialist Silicon Graphics International plans to launch a personal computer in Australia before the end of this year. The new product will offer resellers an opportunity to participate in the high-performance PC market without having to commit to SGI's traditional workstation stronghold.
The $US3.1 billion company, which has until now built high-performance Unix workstations based on proprietary hardware, will use Intel processors and Microsoft's Windows NT operating system for its first foray into the PC space.
The company intends to deliver its "visual computer" PCs through a mixture of direct and reseller channels.
Although SGI's PC plans were announced earlier this year, the December timetable for the PC launch was revealed by the company's national sales director, David Webster, during the opening of a $2 million "RealityCentre" exhibit in Adelaide recently.
The move into the PC space is intended to broaden the market for its technology by delivering high-quality graphical computers that exploit the mass-market economics and customer appeal of standardised components such as Intel chips and Microsoft software.
However, Webster rejected the suggestion that Silicon Graphics might be clobbered by the cutthroat competition caused by cloning in the PC market.
"Our focus is on building a differentiated machine that provides value-add," he said. "The technology in these machines is not componentry that's available today for all clone companies."
Webster said the PC product line would offer opportunities to resellers. "We will use a combination of selling directly and working with resellers who add value to the product in terms of services and software," he said.
"For a sub-$8000 price, we will offer a fully integrated visual personal workstation. The focus of the machine is on core areas, which would expect visualisation including CAD/CAM, architecture and engineering, printing and publishing, GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and digital content creation.
"With this NT machine, we are going to bring high-performance visualisation to the PC world."
Webster said the Australian tour by Silicon Graphics' RealityCentre was part of an educational program to stimulate business and government managers with ideas about how visual computing could improve their business operations.
Silicon Graphics Tel (02) 9879 9500