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A range of real-time hardware and software extensions for the VAX family and aimed at aerospace, defence, nuclear, petrochemical and manufacturing and simulation applications is being announced this week by DEC – and the company reckons they make it the only major computer manufacturer to provide fully integrated real-time solutions for such users. The company announced VAX RTA Realtime Accelerator for VAXBI-based systems; the rtVAX 3200, 3500 and 3600 mid-range real-time systems; the E-Series Industrial VAX and PDP-11 systems for harsh environments; release 3.1 of the VAXELN real-time development toolkit and runtime kernel; and cuts of up to 40% on the entry-level rtVAX 1000, Industrial IVAX 620 computer, and the KA620 single board computer. The new VAX RTA Real-time Accelerator is a specialised processor that off-loads real-time work on a VAX 8000 or 6000, and DEC says a VAX 8250 host with two VAX RTA modules can run six to seven times faster than one without. With five RTA modules, the gain on an 8250 is up to 14 times; the VAX RTA processor is $7,000 – UKP7.800 here. VAX RTA software licences go from $3,480 – UKP4,500 – for the VAX 8250 to $10,400 – UKP13,000 – for the VAX 8800, with ships in June. The rtVAX 3000 Series, consisting of the 3200, 3500 and 3600, range from $18,950 – UKP15,800, to $65,000 – UKP54,000, also in June. The 3.1 release of VAXELN adds the facility to for an rtVAX to use local on-board memory as if it were disk, and the run-time licence is included with rtVAX systems; separately it’s $420 to $13,550; no UK price. The hard-hat E-Series Industrial VAX and Industrial PDP-11, also June, range from $9,950 to $30,750. The new Real-time Calling Standard, RTCS, program provides a compatibility standard so products – primarily laboratory instruments and software – from one manufacturer will work with those from another if both meet the standard.

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