Sun whittles workstation costs lower

Sun Microsystems Inc. carved out a new niche in its workstation line Tuesday when the vendor cut the price on one of its 64-bit units below US$1,000 for the first time.

Attempting to give users plenty of muscle at a low cost, the Palo Alto, California-based vendor released the Sun Blade 100 workstation at a price of $995 for orders placed within the US. The new 64-bit workstation runs the Solaris 8 operating system and comes with a 500MHz (megahertz) UltraSPARC IIe processor, 128M-bytes of RAM (random access memory) and a 15G-byte hard drive.

Sun expects the units to appeal to engineers, software developers, people working financial services and other fields that require intensive computing because of their power and high-powered graphics functions.

To compliment the Sun Blade 100 users will also be able to buy a discounted set of software applications, including Forte development tools and iPlanet e-commerce software. As part of the Net Effect Development Stack, Sun will toss in Forte High Performance Computing software, Forte for Java software, the iPlanet Application Server, iPlanet Web Server and other iPlanet software. The Net Effect Development Stack is targeted for those interested in adding a software kick to the new workstation and will cost $3,495. iPlanet, a joint venture between Sun and America Online Inc, makes a variety of software for doing business on the Internet which is included in Sun's hardware.

Sun also made the Sun Blade 100 available with Electric Image's Universe 3D animation software. This setup specifically focuses on developers working in graphic intensive fields and costs $2,995.

Sun Microsystems, in Palo Alto, California, can be reached at +1-650-960-1300 or at http://www.sun.com/.

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