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Graphics terminal specialist Megatek Corp of San Diego, California, has made a move into stand-alone workstations by adding its own specialist hardware on top of a base from Sun Microsystems. Fifteen-year old Megatek, part of the $6 billion United Telecom Group, revealed its OEM deal with Sun last month with the launch of its Sigma 20 workstation range – and has now opened a European office in the UK, at Basingstoke in Hampshire. Megatek president and chief executive officer Bob Benders claimed that Sun could not offer the higher level graphics functionality and performance offered in Megatek’s graphics terminals – and so the company took Sun’s processor and Unix platforms and added its own specialist hardware, such as a display list memory that disassociates graphics data and system memory, and a parallel frame buffer. Megatek has a range of systems, based on the Sun 3/60, 3/200 and Sparc-based 4/200 workstations, although Bender said that most future generation systmes would be based on the Sparc. We are anticipating 20 MIPS devices very quickly, said Bender, who claimed that the Megatek systems were not simply graphics accelerators. The current low-end Sigma systems will be priced at UKP20,000 in the UK, with Sparc-based systems starting from UKP35,000. The workstations will run standard Sun software, but need a graphics driver to utilise the high performance graphics subsystem. Bender anticipated that the Sigma range would generate $5m business over the next calender year, and account for over half of the company’s business by the following year. Megatek recently won a contract from the UK’s Ministry of Defence for it proprietary 9300 graphics systems for the Sea Systems Controllerate in Bath, and is working on Tempested versions of the Sigma workstations.

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