HP is targeting the seismic interpretation workstation market with a high-end PC workstation, the xw9300. ‘Targeting’ is perhaps the wrong word since demand for a 64 bit AMD-based machine came from HP’s oil and gas clients. Interpretation workstations are memory hungry beasts—thanks to 64-bit Linux, the 9300 supports up to 16GB memory.
The system offers dual PCI Express x16 graphics and dual processors. Graphics are NVidia-based, with the option of Quadro SLI-capable boards announced for early 2005. SLI technology features multiple graphic processing unit capabilities hitherto only available on very high-end machines.
The new machine will compete with IBM and Sun workstations and to a lesser degree with HP’s own PA/RISC-based series. AMD clients in oil and gas include Veritas, Shell, Petrobras, Pemex, IBM, Sun and Microsoft (for development). Red Hat is the first available 64 bit OS for the 9300, with Suse certification to follow.
The AMD 64bit Opteron-based system sells at a bargain-basement price of ‘from’ $1,888 in the US. But a system which exploits the 9300’s expansion to the full will cost many times that amount. Using the HP ‘buy online’ configurator we priced a top-of-the-range machine with dual processors and 16GB memory at around $20,000.
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