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Sun Announces Powerful New Line of Computers

May 19, 1992

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Sun Microsystems Inc. today introduced a line of powerful desktop computers that can use up to four ″brains″ and that has built-in telephone technology.

The Sparcstation 10 workstations, which are mightier than personal computers, can use multiple central processing units which are the brains of a computer to control machine functions, giving Sun the most powerful workstation on the market.

″We’ve redesigned all parts of the systems so that not only is the CPU faster, but everything about the Sparcstation is better,″ said Larry Hambly, vice president of Sun marketing. ″That’s what people want: the ability to perform applications faster and with more memory and disk access.″

Mountain View-based Sun is the No. 1 maker of workstations, controlling up to 40 percent of the $2.6 billion market. But Hewlett-Packard Co. and International Business Machines Corp. have in the past year introduced machines with more power than Sun’s current line of computers.

Industry analysts were impressed by Sun’s new workstations, although most observers felt IBM and HP were coming on strong.

″I don’t think they’ve (Sun) leapfrogged HP or IBM,″ said Nancy Battey, an analyst at International Data Corp., a market research company in Mountain View. ″But Sun doesn’t have to leapfrog because of their market share and how software developers think of them.″

David Card, Battey’s colleague, said the near future will be telling for Sun because the full line of Sparcstations won’t be available until early 1993 when Sun introduces its new Solaris 2.0 operating system, which is needed before the machine can use all four microprocessors. An operating system is the basic software that controls computer functions, while the microprocessors act as the brains to power the machines.

Sun ″wants to change the dynamics of what people compete on,″ Card said. ″But for the next six months, they’ll have a hard time sending the message because they won’t have any systems out.″

In July, the first Sparcstation 10 model 30 will be available for a list price of $18,495 and with a single microprocessor, and room for three more. Later models, due out later this year and early next year, can use up to four microprocessors and will range in price from $24,995 to $57,999.

Multiprocessing lets a computer do several things at once, speeding up the entire machine and letting users do many tasks at a time. Sun’s new machines were built around the ″Supersparc″ microprocessor made by Texas Instruments Inc. of Dallas after four years of joint development.

The new Sun workstations also were made with built-in digital telephone technology so that futuristic ″multimedia″ functions, such as combining text, video and audio, can be done without buying a new computer.

″We’ve made this machine so it can be upgraded and so that it can handle the new technologies that are going to come in later,″ said Sun’s Hambly. ″This should be the last workstation anybody should have to buy.″

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