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September 28, 1998

SGI TAKES FLAT PANEL GRAPHICS DISPLAYS TO PCs, MACS

By CBR Staff Writer

Silicon Graphics Inc has partnered with Number Nine Visual Technology Inc to bring what it claims is the industry’s first high-resolution digital flat panel monitor to market. SGI’s 1600SW monitor has a 17.3 inch, 1600×1024 pixel wide format screen, and can be used on PC and Macintosh systems as well as SGI’s own O2 Unix workstations, and on its planned NT-based products. PC and Macintosh support has been achieved through a flat panel solution pack that includes the monitor and Number Nine’s 32Mb Revolution IV-FP graphics card for both PCI and AGP systems. The pack will ship for Windows95, Windows98 and NT-based PCs in November, and is likely to cost around $2,795. The Macintosh version will ship in the first quarter of next year. O2 users will also be able to get their hands on the screen this November, for $2,595 as a standard upgrade. SGI says extending support for the high resolution digital liquid crystal monitor to PCs and Macs is part of its strategy to bring visual computing to the mainstream, and was one of the key reasons behind its relationship with struggling graphics board maker Number Nine. SGI first stepped in to save the Lexington, Massachusetts-based firm from running out of money in May this year with a $9m cash injection (CI No 3,407), which it later converted into a 26% equity stake (CI No 3,472). Number Nine has suffered three years of straight losses. It will sell the PC and Macintosh packs through its own sales channels. Mitsubishi Electric Co, which has a long-term partnership with SGI, will be manufacturing the monitor, which provides 110 dots-per-inch at a .23mm dot pitch. The usual resolution of high-end flat panel monitors is less than 90 dots-per-inch, at dot pitches of between 0.28mm and 0.31mm. The monitor also enables wide viewing angles, and pixel performance three times faster than competing systems, says SGI.

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