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August 9, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Cipher Data Products Inc, San Diego, California, yesterday finally announced its long-promised family of IBM 3480-compatible half inch cartridge tape drives as the 3000i line. Cipher Data had been precluded by its agreement with IBM from bringing out a small-footprint 3480-type drive before IBM itself entered the market, but in March, IBM lifted the constraint (CI No 885). Cipher reckons that the 3000i family represents the largest series of tape drives ever announced and that it provides significant capacity and performance improvements over existing interchange capabilities. The line currently includes two 8 form factor drives for mid-range to small mainframe computers, and a 5.25 drive for at microcomputers, workstations and small minicomputers – and they use Multi-track Serpentine Recording format, which Cipher is pushing as a standard for data interchange between low- and high end computer systems. They record data on 24 parallel tracks in groups of two or four tracks, only the former being used to interchange data. Capacity on a 3480 cartridge is 320Mb, and an optional 10-cartridge stacker is promised for next year. The three-member family will expand to 26 configurations in the next 12 months. The 5.25 3532 has a transfer rate 242K-bytes-per second; the 8 3832, 448Kbps; and the 8 3834, 896Kbps. Interfaces available with the 3000i family include IPI-Level 3 and SCSI for high-performance computers, and the Cipher/Pertec interface. Options for horizontal or vertical drive mounting, tabletop models and 19 rack mounting are available. Some computer manufacturers have already had pre-release shipments of the 3830 and first production ships are set for October. Pre release 3532s are set for early 1989. Volume OEM prices on the 3000is are $1,380 for the 3532; $3,710 for 3832; and $4,400 for the 3834.

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