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April 1, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:58pm


By CBR Staff Writer

For years, Intel Corp has been abused by Unix vendors and RISC chip manufacturers, who claimed its technology was not powerful enough for use in high-end graphical workstation applications. Now, fortified by OEM customers launching Intel-based workstations, it is fighting back, and has formed a dedicated Intel Workstation Product Division, based in Dupont, Washington. Its remit is to develop world-class capabilities for Intel architecture-based workstations, and migrate that technology to mainstream platforms as quickly as possible according to Patrick Gelsinger, vice president of Intel’s Desktop Products Group, who unveiled Intel’s new Visual Computing strategy at a day-long event in San Jose last week. Intel will base its work on the various graphics and related technologies it has gradually been putting together, including the Pentium II chip fortified with MMX multimedia extension instructions, the Accelerated Graphics Port, the improved memory bandwidth of synchronous dynamic RAM technology, OpenGL graphics, Windows NT, the Universal Serial Bus and the IEEE 1394 Firewire multimedia bus. Intel dismisses the old workstation model as proprietary, with limited channels, unique application binaries and Unix dialects impeding applications portability, incompatible systems and proprietary architectures. Intel points to OEM customers such as Compaq Computer Corp, Digital Equipment Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co, IBM Corp, Intergraph Corp, NetPower Inc and Siemens-Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG, all of whom now have more-or-less serious Intel-based workstation lines on the market. The key, of course, will ultimately be software, and the Workstation Division has software developer relations programs in place. There are signs that the high-end graphics software community is now starting to take notice of Intel, which is looking for support from 3D graphics, digital imaging, and video software houses, and particularly at computer animation, mechanical computer-aided design and medical imaging applications. Newer generation software houses, such as Concord, Massachusetts-based mechanical CAD company SolidWorks Corp, which came out in support of Intel last week, are beginning to write their software for Intel and Windows-based systems right from the outset.

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