Orion’s High-Performance Workstations

WSJ and NYTimes write about Orion Multisystems, which is making workstations — high-powered desktop or deskside computers aimed at scientists and engineers, a market that withered in the 1990s.

WSJ: “Orion’s machines are designed like supercomputer clusters, which use many electronic brains to gang-tackle tough problems. Instead of one or two microprocessors, like today’s PCs and the workstations of yore, a $10,000 desktop system from Orion has a dozen chips. The fastest version, which fits in a small cabinet under a desk, has 96 of them and costs nearly $100,000….has set its sights on engineers and scientists that already use clustered systems for jobs such as sequencing genes, studying how wind flows past a car body or creating animated film clips. Such techies often must queue up to get their jobs executed on clustered machines, which may be special-purpose supercomputers containing hundreds or thousands of processors or simply groups of PCs yoked together to work cooperatively. By giving each worker the equivalent of a small supercomputer cluster, Orion hopes to cut the waiting and sharply boost productivity.”

NYTimes: “To achieve its low-power goal, the biggest gamble Orion is taking is building its system based on the Efficeon microprocessor, the newest chip from Transmeta. The chip maker pioneered the idea of ultralow power processors for mobile computers, but had until recently not been able to meet its performance goals.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.