Users of IBM’s old 3705 front-end communications processor who waited years for their demands for something more powerful and less amnesiac to be met, these days feel a bit like the frogs who wanted a king: having finally met their demands, IBM came out with a string of different 37XXs – 3745, 3725, 3720 and so forth, each of which needs a different version of the operating system and has a somewhat different role. Attempting to bring some order to the confusion in users’ minds, Amdahl Corp this week added a feature to its 4745 alternative that supports multiple generations of the IBM operating software and enables users to bridge the generation gap with no reconfiguration or hardware changes. The 4745s run IBM’s Network Control Program Version 5, including newly announced Release 5.2, and the earlier NCP-3 or NCP-4 versions on the same hardware without modification. Amdahl points out that to run NCP-5, IBM only users have to buy a 3745, which will not accommodate the previous versions. To make the transition to NCP-5 on the 4745, or to return to earlier versions, the operator types a few commands on the 4745 console and loads the appropriate NCP module across the channel or from the 4745 hard disk, a procedure that takes about five minutes. Amdahl claims the 4745 outperforms the 3745 up to 1.4 times, and runs NCP-3 and 4 up to 2.2 times faster than IBM’s offerings for those versions. Line rates can vary from 50bps to 256Kbps, and the 4745-210 takes up to 256 half- or full-duplex lines and six channel adaptors and costs from $132,000; the 4745-110 takes up to 64 lines and two channel adaptors at from $100,650 with NCP-5 support; both will take 4Mb memory.
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