DEC yesterday duly announced its first symmetrical multiprocessing hardware and software yesterday, and hailed the move as its first foray into the world of parallel processing. The company has added a parallel processing run-time library as part of the new VMS SMP – for Symmetrical Multi Processing operating system software and is looking to establish third party relationships for applications software. VMS SMP allows all processors in a complex to initiate input-output functions. In Release 5 of VMS, for which no dates are set, DEC will make the SMP enhancements available to the existing base of 8700 and 8800 models. DEC also says that it is working on a version of Ultrix optimised to run on its SMP hardware, adding that current incarnations of Ultrix will not run on the new hardware. Both hardware and software will be available in April. Despite our scepticism, DEC has gone for the numbering system we gave in CI No 883: UKP451,200 is the price for a standard configuration single processor 8810 with 48Mb main memory, MicroPDP-11 console, VMS licence, DECnet software and node licence, Ethernet adapter, VAXBI bus, VAXcluster adapter. The dual processor 8820 is priced at UKP674,400 and a three-CPU 8830 at UKP826,400; the quadver sion is UKP1m with a sample configur ation comprising 128Mb main memory; 2.5Gb disk; MicroVAX II console; 71Mb RD53 fixed disk drive, and 95Mb TK50 tape drive; VMS, DECnet and node licences; two Ethernet ad apters; two VAXBI buses; and one VAXcluster adapter. The 8842 is two 8820s in a VAXcluster. Maximum number of VAXBI buses is six. Up grades from one version to the next are UKP213,600. An upgrade for the existing 8800, which DEC says has the equivalent performance of an 8820, to the 8830, involves a cabi net exchange and costs UKP100,000 or so. DEC ‘recommends’ that an 8700 user should upgrade to an 8800 and then to the 8830. This architect ure will not support more than four processors because bus bandwidth is limited to 70Mbytes-per-second. The 8810 is rated at 22 times the VAX-11/780 and the 8840 is claimed to deliver between 3.5 and 3.8 times the performance of an 8810.