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March 2, 1988

CONVEX GETS FIRST CRACK AT HOT NEW FUJITSU ECL ARRAYS

By CBR Staff Writer

At the heart of Convex Computer Corp’s just announced C2 range of minisupercomputers is new air cooled ECL gate array technology only released by Fujitsu within the last month. The new machines, collectively called the C Series, use 20,000-gate CMOS arrays and the new Fujitsu 10,000-gate ECL gate array which the company says gives machine compactness and reliability. Convex has also developed a parallel processing technique, dubbed Automatic Self Allocating Processors, ASAP, which keeps all available CPUs busy. The company claims that the technique, which enables the hardware to to take code parallelised by the Convex compilers and split it among the processors is faster and more efficient than the commonly used static allocation technique, which gives a single job to a processor and leaves other processors idle anticipating parallel code. Convex adds that the technique does not require programmers to use special programming techniques to use the parallel architecture. This is because Convex has introduced new compilers for the C Series that adds automatic parallelisation to its vectorising and optimising compilers. The compilers accept most popular dialects of Ada, C, and Fortran. Convex has enhanced its implementation of Unix, based on Berkeley Unix with System V extensions, for the C Series. Enhancements include disk striping, vectorised runtime libraries, support for simultaneous parallel and multiprocessing, and shared memory. Six new models are included in the C series: the new entry-level system, C120, is an enhanced version of Convex’s previous C1 range and is rated at 40 MFLOPS and is priced at $275,000; the C130 is an upgrade for the C120 but uses the ECL technology of the C200 series and is priced at $445,000; the C210 is the base unit for the parallel processing system which has on 64-bit processor tightly coupled with main memory through its own 200Mb-per-second bus, rated at 50 MFLOPS, priced at $595,000; the C220 is a dual processor with 100 MFLOPS performance, priced at $870,000; the three processor C230 costs $1.12m; the top-of-the-range C240 is priced at $1.35m and Convex says that it is capable of running at speeds exceeding 200MFLOPS. The C120, C130 and C210 are available now, the C200 in the second quarter and the C230 and C240 during the fourth. Convex claims that the C210 is already installed at 12 sites. Existing C1 machines can be upgraded through a processor swap and all machines are binary compatible.

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