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Technology / AI and automation


DEC is launching a major attack on IBM’s AS/400 series with the addition of two top-end supermicros, the MicroVAX 3800 and 3900. The 3800 and 3900 replace the MicroVAX 3500 and 3600 launched in September 1987; DEC says it will stress the new models’ price performance to attack the AS/400, as well as their environmental features, such as low noise emissions and power requirements, and networking options derived from VAX architecture. DEC says the new models, which cost approximately 5% more than the 3500-3600 line, deliver up to 50% more CPU performance and four times more storage capacity than the two models they replace – adding that the next two top-end models in the family are already in the pipeline. The 3800 and 3900, based on the 60nS CVAX CMOS chip set, can support 76 users running the All-In-1 office automation software, and both go to 64Mb memory. The 3800 includes the 400Mb RF71 Integrated Storage Element, providing 2.4Gb of storage, and uses the DSSI storage bus; the 3900 has a RA90 disk drive, which can be used with a second KDA50 disk controller to give 9.7Gb storage. Prices are UKP59,100 for the 3800, UKP87,800 for the 3900; users of 3500 and 3600 systems can upgrade to 3800 and 3900 models for UKP7,300. The introduction of the 3800 and 3900 models is part of a restructuring of the MicroVAX family. UK prices for the 3300 and 3400 systems have been reduced by between 25% and 28%, and manufacturing levels have been significantly increased; DEC wants to bring the 3300 and 3400 into line with MicroVAX II prices, as part of an attack on the eight- to 40-user market. DEC also cut the price of applications software for the two models by 40%, and made available the RF71 Integrated Storage Element, ISE for the 3400 and 3800 models, which provides storage of up to 2.4Gb. It also launched the VAXserver 3800 and 3900, for the two new models, and the rtVAX 3800 system; the servers are designed to provide applications-specific services to client systems, and support DEC’s Ultrix version of Unix as well as the latest releases of VMS. The VAXserver 3800 costs UKP41,000, the 3900 UKP62,000. The rtVAX 3800 system provides device monitoring, data acquisition and report generation for applications such as computer-integrated manufacturing, quality control and flow process monitoring and is priced at from UKP22,600 here.

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