Although may appear more interested in the lucrative server and storage markets these days, Sun Microsystems Inc doesn’t want to give up any ground in the hotly-contested RISC/Unix workstation market. Yesterday, it launched new high-end Ultra 2 workstations, using a 300MHz UltraSparc II RISC chip, the fastest member of the family seen yet. The fastest is the dual processor Model 2300, which achieves benchmarked performance figures of 12.3 SPECint95 and 20.2 SPECfp95, according to the company. The single processor Model 1300 does 12.1 SPECint95 and 15.5 SPECfp95. Each now supports up to 2Mb of level 2 cache and up to 2Gb RAM. The new models keep Sun’s performance levels above those of the new breed of Intel-based workstations running Windows NT, but doesn’t give Sun any significant performance advantage over its Unix competition. The dual-processor still trails Digital Equipment Corp and Silicon Graphics Inc in absolute SPEC benchmark ratings, though Sun has managed well enough in recent years to hang on to its market share, even without the hottest box. International Data Corp figures suggest that Sun increased its share of the RISC Unix workstation sector to 41% in 1996 compared with 38.1% in 1995, while second placed Hewlett-Packard Co’s share fell from 21.7% in 1995 to 19% last year. The new Model 1300 starts at $27,500 and the Model 2300 has a starting price of $39,500 with Sun’s own Creator 3D graphics accelerator. Like the competition, Sun has also cut prices on its existing workstations by up to 30%.