In an attempt to peg back Sun Microsystems Inc’s advancing lead in the Unix workstation market, Hewlett-Packard Co has taken a red pen to its price book, slashing tags on its HP-UX graphics workstations by as much as 41%. HP says the reductions will be offset by the savings it’s making by consolidating its all of its workstation business at its Fort Collins, Colorado location – where the Chelmsford, Massachusetts unit’s workstation resources are being transferred – plus the forthcoming use of third parties to manufacture printed circuit boards and do final assembly. HP claims that although performance comparisons have tended to ebb and flow over time to give one or other the advantage, Sun has always enjoyed a perceived edge over it on price. At the same time HP has also appointed Chris Christopher general manager of the workstation division, the job that Mark Canepa gave up for a two week tenure at Compaq Computer Corp before being lured away to head-up Sun’s new workgroup server division, also based in Chelmsford. Christopher was formerly general manager of HP’s systems technology division where he worked on the relationship with Intel Corp, development of the IA-64 Merced architecture and related compiler and CPU technologies. He reports to technical computing business unit general manager Bill Russell. HP says all B-, C- and J-class workstations are board-upgradable to Merced. The price cuts come ahead of a new graphics architecture HP is preparing thatUll replace its three-year-old Visualize accelerators. It says there are still large graphics-driven tasks which can’t draw enough horsepower from Visualize, including design, modeling and simulation using components from systems distributed over the internet. In addition HP will shortly be making its own commitment to Silicon Graphics Inc’s OpenGL graphics library. HP, whose graphics software strategy has relied on the use of the PEX PHIGS Extension to X, has previously left third parties such as Template Graphics and Portable Graphics to implement GL and OpenGL on its workstations. Template Graphics acquired Portable Graphics from Evans & Sutherland a few weeks back (UX No 621). The 32-bit PA-7300 RISC-based Model B132L with Visualize EG 2D graphics, 64Mb RAM, 2Gb disk and 17 color screen is now priced at $6,800, down 41% from $11,500. The Visualize-24 3D graphics the same box now costs $13,000 instead of $17,700. The price of a 64-bit PA-RISC-based C180 with Visualize-EG 2D graphics is reduced 36% to $21,000; with Visualize-24 3D graphics its now costs $26,000, down 32% from $38,000; while the C180XP, with Visualize-48XP graphics now costs $35,000, down 32% on its previous $51,500 tag. The two-way PA-8000-based ModelJ210XC with Visualize-EG now costs $20,000, down from $32,000. CPU upgrades for uniprocessor J series workstation models now cost $15,000. HP says it’s reduced prices of its 3D graphics systems by 28%, RAM prices by up to 25% and mass storage prices by up to 11%.