DEC is due to announce the first symmetrical multiprocessing models in its VAX 8000 family today, and sources close to the company say that there will be five models in the line. More controversially, the suggestion is that the line will carry the existing 8800 designation with 8810, 8820, 8830, 8840 and 8842 models, the 10 to 40 being one, two, three and four processor models, and the 8842 two 8820s tied together in a VAX-cluster for use in applications where fault-tolerance is a requirement. On that basis, the 8810 would be an 8700 repackaged so that it could be upgraded to any of the other models in the new line, and the 8820 would be comparable with the existing 8800 model, but would be a true multi-processor rather than the master-slave configuration of the present machine. The 8870 – and therefore the 8810 – are rated at 22 times the power of the VAX-11/780; word is that the 8840 will deliver 3.7 times the power of an 8810, very good for a first pass at multiprocessing. The new machines are said to support up to 512Mb of main memory and up to six BI buses, but it is not clear whether existing 8700 and 8800 users will be able to upgrade to the new models. The 8840, believed to be pitched at IBM’s 3090/150E and 180E machines, is expected to be around $2m or so.