Ultra 4000 and Pixar

Jim Bowden (bowdenj@iquest.net)
Wed, 7 May 1997 09:47:48 -0500 (EST)

This is the kind of computing power we need! Does anyone know anyone at


Sun Microsystems Computer Company
Joanne Sperans Hartzell (415) 786-5404

Thomas Associates for Sun
Rebecca Ritter (415) 596-2700

Niehaus Ryan Group for Pixar
Blaise Simpson (415) 827-7065


Sun's Ultra 4000 Workstations Chosen to Enhance Pixar RenderFarm

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - May 6, 1997 - Sun Microsystems, Inc.
(NASDAQ: SUNW) and Pixar Animation Studios (NASDAQ:PIXR) today
announced the installation of Sun's new Ultra(TM) 4000 systems
to boost the capacity of Pixar's RenderFarm. Pixar's original
RenderFarm was supplied by Sun(TM) for the production of the
box office hit, "Toy Story," the first full-length feature
animation produced entirely by computer. The enhanced RenderFarm
system, powered by Sun Ultra 4000 workstations, will multiply
Pixar's rendering power to six times its current capabilities,
helping the company to ramp up for its recently-announced 10
year, five film, co-production deal with The Walt Disney Studios.

"Our productions combine the creativity of some of the world's
leading animators and writers with state-of-the-art technology,"
said Ed Catmull, Chief Technology Officer of Pixar. "This addition
will provide the rendering power that Pixar requires to make our
new movies even more visually exciting."

"Pixar's decision to gear up RenderFarm with Sun Ultras proves
that Sun continues to successfully cater to the complex computing
needs of the entertainment business," said Gene Banman, Vice
President and General Manager of Sun's Desktop Systems group.
"We're looking forward to building on the relationship Sun and
Pixar established when we put together the original RenderFarm."

Rendering is a time-intensive process in which the correct lighting,
textures and shading are applied to 3-D computer models to produce
sharp, colorful images with photo-realistic detail. It is the
critical final stage before a film reaches its audience.

The 48 Sun Ultra 4000 workstations that RenderFarm uses have the
aggregate performance of 1,680,000 operations per second. Each
system's compact enclosure (13.5" x 19.7" x 22") houses 14
processors. The upgraded RenderFarm system will consist of over
650 processors with more than 45 of the high-powered Sun multi
processing computers working in unison to constitute a potent
computer graphics rendering machine. The result will offer
audiences a marked difference in the tones and textures of the
animation in upcoming productions. In addition to the high-
resolution final rendering, the enhanced RenderFarm will generate
the test images animators need to plan and evaluate lighting,
texture mapping and animation.

The high speed of the upgraded system, accomplished by its
standard 100 Mb per second Ethernet networking capabilities,
arms Pixar with the ability to meet the entertainment industry's
critical production deadlines. The Ultra 4000 power workstations
fulfill Pixar's key requirements for its new endeavors; the
affordability of off-the-shelf systems, and an unprecedented
amount of sheer computing power in a compact package that can
handle the computationally-demanding task of rendering.

Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision, "The Network Is The
Computer(TM)," has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc., (NASDAQ: SUNW),
to its position as a leading provider of hardware, software and
services for establishing enterprise-wide intranets and expanding
the power of the Internet. With more than $8 billion in annual
revenues, Sun can be found in more than 150 countries and on the
WorldWide Web at http://www.sun.com.

Pixar Animation Studios combines creative and technical artistry
to create original characters and stories in the new medium of
three-dimensional computer animation. Pixar created and produced
the first computer animated feature film, the Academy-Award winning
"Toy Story," and has recently entered into a partnership with The
Walt Disney Company to finance, produce and distribute five computer
animated feature films and related products. Pixar employs
approximately 300 people. Pixar's stock is traded on the NASDAQ
National Market under the symbol PIXR.


Sun, the Sun logo, Sun Microsystems, Ultra and The Network Is The
Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems,
Inc. in the United States and other countries.

Press announcements and other information about Sun Microsystems
are available on the Internet via the World Wide Web using a tool
such as Netscape Navigator or Sun's HotJava.
Type http://www.sun.com at the URL prompt.