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April 22, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

Benchmark Technologies Ltd, Kingston-upon-Thames, has plunged into the high-performance CAD/CAM and graphics workstation market with the Quadstation, a four-user system with real-time capabilities derived from the benchMark 32 32-bit graphics Unix computer. As standard the Quadstation is supplied with the 15MHz 32332 from National Semiconductor but the 33MHz Fairchild Clipper and Motorola 68020 processors are available as options. A Quadstation system can be configured with up to 1.5Gb hard disk, a floppy drive, a 60Mb tape streamer, half inch tape, TCP/IP networking and additional high performance disk processors. The operating system is Unix System V.3 including demand paging, virtual memory and real-time extensions in input-output with MS-DOS 3.2 running concurrently. Input-output activity is controlled by secondary Intel 80286 processors. BenchMark says that it has eliminated bus bottlenecks by providing VME support and local bus interconnections. The graphics capabilities are provided by the benchMark bCG cards with the company’s proprietary colour graphics processor, which give a resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels with eight planes and 256 simultaneous colours from a palette of 256,000. Each bCG has 2Mb of dual ported video RAM. At the top end the Quadstation can support a single user 24-bit system, through two users with 256 colours, four users with 16 colours and eight users with greyscale or 12 monochrome screens. The system costs around UKP7,000 per user with the Clipper option an extra UKP1,000 per user.

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