Sun Microsystems Inc. has unveiled a line of high-performance desktop workstations it expects will appeal to financial services companies.
The Ultra 5 and Ultra 10 are 64-bit computers that Sun considers ideal for applications on trading desks and in call centers.
"What we see here is Sun reengineering its Unix workstations and offering them at PC prices," said Jim Garden, director of Technology Business Research Inc. of Hampton, N.H.
"They are good value and in line with Intel offerings, which is the way Sun positioned and planned it."
The workstations, part of Sun's high-powered Darwin line, also will compete with offerings from Microsoft Corp., Silicon Graphics Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., and other Unix vendors, including Hewlett-Packard Co. and Digital Equipment Corp.
As banks try to make better use of the information stored on host systems and data bases, high-powered workstations that can handle complex graphical and analytical tasks are coming into demand.
The Ultra 5 and Ultra 10 "break new ground in terms of low-cost, entry- level Sun workstations," said Robert J. Hall, vice president of sales in Sun's worldwide financial services division.
Mr. Hall said the Ultra 5 sells for $3,895, including a 17-inch monitor, and the Ultra 10 for $9,595, including a 21-inch monitor.
A number of financial companies, including AT&T Universal Card Services, use lower-level Sun workstations. Mr. Hall expects the low pricing will entice many to upgrade.