Hughes upgrades PTO pact

Hughes Data Systems last week said its has upgraded its $172 million Patent and Trademark Office desktop contract to include 180 MHz Pentium Pro machines.

The contract was awarded to Hughes last August but was delayed by two protests that recently were dismissed by the General Accounting Office. Nevertheless PTO has ordered more than $10 million worth of products off of the contract so far and has approved a technology upgrade. Other federal agencies can make purchases up to 28 percent of the total quantity ordered by PTO.

In its latest move Hughes has replaced the Pentium Pro 120 and 133 MHz systems from Micron Electronics Inc. which were originally called for on the contract with 180 MHz Micron Pentium Pro workstations.

"The Pentium Pro is actually better suited to migration to [Microsoft Corp.'s] Windows NT 3.51 or 4.0 " said Richard Dovala program manager for the PTO program at Hughes. "The PTO will migrate to Windows NT 4.0 and the Pentium Pro is a better match for that migration because it's designed to take advantage of a 32-bit operating system [such as] Windows NT."

Hughes currently offers three Pentium Pro configurations on the contract.

The Level I workstation priced at $3 540 comes with a 180 MHz Pentium Pro processor 32M of RAM a 2.1G Enhanced IDE Seagate hard drive a Plextor CD-ROM drive a 2M Diamond multimedia graphics board Adaptec Inc.'s SCSI-III controller Intel Corp.'s EtherExpress Pro 100 network interface card a U.S. Robotics fax modem a Creative Labs Inc. sound card and a 17-inch high-resolution CTX color monitor.

The Level II workstation also a 180 MHz Pentium Pro system comes with 64M of RAM a 2.1G SCSI Ultra Wide Seagate hard drive a Plextor CD-ROM drive an Adaptec SCSI-III controller an Intel EtherExpress Pro 100 network interface card a U.S. Robotics fax modem a Matrox 4M video adapter and a Hitachi 21-inch ultra high-resolution color monitor. It is priced at $5 242.

The third configuration called the patent examiner workstation offers the same capabilities as the Level II system but comes with two 4.3G Ultra Wide SCSI Seagate hard drives instead of the single 2.1G drive. Microsoft's Windows NT 3.51 is available as an option. It is priced at $6 461.

The majority of the workstations will be used for data retrieval and high resolution imaging applications used by patent examiners to investigate new patents. However the systems also are well-suited for computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing modeling and cartography applications Dovala said.

More technology-refreshment cycles can be expected Dovala said.

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