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February 8, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Next Inc’s Pixar subsidiary in San Rafael, California, has introduced the Pixar II next generation of its Pixar Image Computer. The expandable Pixar II starts at $29,500 and can be configured with up to 108Mb of memory. It comes bundled with development software libraries, including C compiler, and supports a 1,280 by 1,024 non-interlaced colour monitor. It comes designed for an office environment, in either deskside or 19 rack housing. Aimed primarily at the remote sensing and medical imaging markets, it offers increased performance for monochrome images by enabling all four channels – red, green, blue and alpha – to function as a single, continuous monochrome channel, so that users can work quickly with high-resolution images that are up to four times larger. By applying very large scale integration, Pixar has reduced the board configuration for its entry-level product to just two boards from the six used in the Pixar Image Computer. One board is the Chap Pixel Channel Processor, and the other includes 12Mb of image memory and video processor. There are additional expansion slots for more memory, video functions, and another Chap processor, but the Pixar Image Computer takes up to three Chaps and 192Mb memory, and will remain the flagship model. New video features on the Pixar II include what the company claims is an industry first – a high resolution colour Video Merge capability that enables users to composite images from two separate frame buffers interactively. The company reckons that this will be of value in remote sensing, medical imaging and scientific visualisation applications where there is a need to align or compare two images. In addition, the ability to add or subtract objects from a background image in real time enables careful positioning of objects. Thus, says Pixar, a radiologist can use the Video Merge composite feature to compare two X-rays to determine whether a tumour has grown or changed and image interpreters can compare two satellite photos to measure precise weather movements or see whether the enemy’s tanks have been moved. In graphic arts, the feature can be used to move object relative to one another in real time. The entry-level Pixar II is $29,500 and is available now in the US. The Video Merge option, including an additional 12Mb memory, is $28,000 from the second quarter.

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