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May 3, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Amdahl Corp yesterday duly announced its new top-end processor as the 5990, rating it at 33 to 34 MIPS, and accompanied it with the new disks and a new controller that handles tape drives and solid state store as well as disks. The new 5990 has a 10nS cycle time, making it the fastest in the 370-type world, and initially comes in two- and four-processor configurations; a new dual processor configuration in the 5890 line was also announced. The 5990s are said to improve performance over the 5980s by 50% in commercial on-line and batch applications, and up to 100% in CPU intensive scientific work. The new 6100 Storage Processor combines cache and storage subsystem control in a single unit, and is claimed to offer more than twice the throughput, double the capacity, and twice the connectivity to host CPUs of IBM’s offerings. The 6100 can be configured with up to 32 input-output paths, of which 16 can be active at a time, and at data transfer rates of 4.5 Mbytes per second, aggregate data rate can be as high as 72Mbps, a fourfold improvement on the competition. The 6100 uses a new modular architecture with a central bus and a string of specialised microprocessors, and by modifying microcode or adding microprocessors, Amdahl looks to be able to add functions and incorporate future technology. The new disk drives, lining up against IBM’s J and K models are the 6380J 2.54Gb unit and the 6380K 7.5Gb system; they support both dynamic and quad extended pathing. With 32 6380K units attached, the 6100 can access up to 240Gb of storage, twice that for IBM’s 3990. Optional cache goes to 512Mb. Like that of its near relative, Fujitsu’s M780, the 5990 CPU occupies one multi-layer circuit board. The new machine’s support Amdahl’s Multiple Domain Feature hardware partitioning option with the 5990-700 dual supporting up to four domains; the 5990-1400 quad up to eight. The new 5890-390E two-way multiprocessor, which offers nearly the same power but twice the memory as the 5890-300E dual, also supports up to eight domains. Support is planned for the IBM MVS/ESA operating system. Ships of the 5990-700 start next month and the 5990-1400 and 5890-390E are planned for the fourth quarter. The two smaller models of the 6100 start in the fourth quarter, but the two larger models won’t be available until late 1989, once IBM is shipping the 3990-3. The 6380J and 6380K disk units are set for first quarter of 1989. The 5990-700 – about 15% more powerful than IBM’s 3090-400E, will start at $7.07m; the 5990-1400 – approaching twice the power of the 3090-600E – at $13.1m; and the 5890-390E at $6.975m. Base prices range from $99,000 to $264,000 for the 6100, with cache an additional $90,000 per 32Mb. Price of the new disk units are $53,100 for the basic 6380J and $94,500 for the basic 6380K, plus $20,700 for head-of-string versions. The market took the announcement, which has significant negative implications for IBM’s mainframe business, in its stride, marking IBM up $0.25 at $114.375, and quixotically marking Amdahl shares down $0.75 at $40.25.

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