HP launches the 'mother of all workstations'

HP hopes to enable better 3D graphics collaboration with new corporate workstations.

Hewlett-Packard has pumped up the graphics and processing power on its line of business workstations, introducing a quad-core desktop the company calls the "mother of all workstations."

The new HP XW8600 Workstation will include two quad-core Intel processors and enhanced graphics with 2D or 3D Nvidia graphics cards carrying memory between 256M bytes and 512M bytes, enabling game developers to share 3D images from different locations, said Jim Zafarana, vice president of marketing at HP, during a company event in San Francisco.

The XW8600 will run Intel quad-core Xeon processors, support up to 128G bytes of RAM and have storage of up to 5T bytes on five hard drives, Zafarana said. It will come with Microsoft's Windows Vista OS or Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

More customers are asking for the ability to better manage and share graphics remotely, especially for oil exploration and scientific imaging, Zafarana said.

The PCI Express Gen 2.0 standard incorporated in the system enables quicker data transfers and helps the desktops better handle graphics, said Tom Kilroy, vice president of Intel, speaking at the event. Intel's 5400 chipset, on which the system is based, improves input-output bandwidth, which boosts graphics performance, Kilroy said.

The desktop can transfer 3D graphics using Remote Graphics Software, an embedded system originally developed by HP Labs and used by NASA to transfer images from Mars exploration to Earth, Zafarana said.

The company also introduced the HP XW6600 Workstation, which will be equipped with Intel's Xeon quad-core processors. It will support up to 32G bytes of memory and up to 3T bytes of storage on three hard drives.

Both workstations will also come with Intel's dual-core processors. The systems support graphics cards, including the two-dimension Nvidia Quadro NVS290 graphics card and three-dimension Nvidia Quadro FX370, Nvidia Quadro FX570, Nvidia Quadro FX1700, Nvidia Quadro FX 4600 and Nvidia Quadro FX5600 graphics cards.

Both systems will work with multiple monitors, though exact numbers were not available at the time of press. Priced starting at US$1,200, both systems will begin shipping in mid-December.

HP is the world's leading PC provider and has momentum on its side, increasing its lead over Dell in recent quarters. HP shipped 13.1 million PCs worldwide in the third quarter, a 19.6 percent market share and a 33 percent year-over-year increase. Dell shipped 10.18 million units, a 3.8 percent increase over the previous year, according to an IDC study.

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