DEC duly launched its replacements for the MicroVAX II range yesterday, but there was no sign of the expected new VAXstation or Personal VAX those are still a little way off. Main features of the new MicroVAX 3300 and 3400 models, which run VMS, Ultrix or DEC’s VAXELN real time operating systems, are a faster processor, new disk drives and input output controller, and a dual host capability. Using the debit/credit benchmark, DEC rates the hardware at four transactions per second, and says that a MicroVAX 3400 is 50% faster than IBM’s AS/400 for 60% of the price. The processor is a less highly tuned version of the MicroVAX 3000 chip set used in last year’s 3500 and 3600 models, with a slower clock speed and one (rather than two) levels of cache, giving twice the performance of the MicroVAX II CPU, according to DEC. Maximum,error-correcting code memory is 28Mb. Input-output performance has been boosted with the first in a new generation of hard disk units – or integrated storage elements, as DEC insists on calling them from now on – the RF30 ISE, half height, 150Mb disk using thin film plated media, which incorporates the controller and gives triple the input-output performance of the older RD systems on the MicroVAX II. The speed limitations of the Q-Bus have led DEC to include a new storage bus to upset add on manufacturers, the Digital Storage Systems Interconnect, DSSI, which enables dynamic dual host configurations under VMS to be set up so that users on either of the two hosts can access any of up to six disks: this gives easier access to data and a measure of fault tolerance. Six Q-bus slots are retained on the 3300 and 12 on the 3400 for other peripherals. Prices start at UKP16,430 for a single user server up to UKP84,750 for a bundled dual host system. The VMS versions are available now, Ultrix is January.
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