TROUBLED American computer maker AST Research is attempting to make some headway in the market for high-end desktops and servers with the launch of the Bravo MS-T 6150 minitower desktop and a new range of Manhattan servers - all based on the new Intel Pentium Pro microprocessor. The latest Bravo MS-T business desktop extends the range of Bravo PCs to support currently available Pentium-chip models. By using Microsoft's 32-bit Windows NT operating system, it gears the Pentium Pro 150-MHz processor to be used for such high-end tasks as computer-aided design (CAD), graphics, and financial and statistical applications - for which processing power is absolutely critical. 'AST views the Bravo MS-T 6150 as an optimum solution for our business users looking to maximise their PC investment,' said Lionel Cheng, managing director of AST Asia-Pacific. 'Today, PC users are looking for large, strategic upgrades that enable them to leverage headroom. The Bravo MS family is designed as an all-Pentium line with the horsepower and features that make it a wise technology investment for the core business market.' The new Manhattan servers are aimed at the application server market with multi-processing capabilities, optimised input-output subsystems to enable better throughput, and also come with fault tolerant features. Mr Cheng said features that were formerly required only in the enterprise server segment served by mini and mainframe computers were now needed to meet needs of the growing application server market. He said: 'With more advanced technology available at lower prices, multiprocessing PC servers are set to become more prevalent in this segment. 'The AST-designed Manhattan servers with the Intel Pentium Pro processor will run 32-bit operating systems at high performance levels. The servers are designed with a robust feature-set to meet high-end networking requirements.' Most servers were mission critical, and the Manhattan range stood apart from the competition thanks to the Intel architecture, he added. 'The product announcement is in line with Intel technology and the working environment available in the IT world,' he said. The computing needs of Hong Kong's business sector was driving the expansion of technology in the territory while contributing to lower prices, Mr Cheng said. The driving forces for the products is performance in architecture, design, reliability and vendor support, Mr Cheng said. 'The company is in a good position to use all the new advanced technology introduced into the market, and AST as one of the front runners has the resources to capture the [market],' he said. As the Intel processor range expands, AST would tailor future developments to fit into that market, he said.