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June 11, 1990


By CBR Staff Writer

DEC is preparing to strengthen its mid-range offerings and give itself a convincing competitor for the IBM AS/400 with launch of a new VAX 4000 family, to be available from next month, according to Computerwoche. The top of the range VAX 4000 Model 300, with 8 VAX Units of Performance, VUPs – one VUP is the performance of the original VAX-11/780 – will take over from the MicroVAX 3800/3900 line, while the 5.5 VUP Model 210 is seen as a successor to the MicroVAX 3300 and 3400. DEC has already listed the new computers on DEC’s US Electronic Store on-line ordering service, and several orders have already come through, the paper reckons. As for price, DEC reckons a basic configuration with 32Mb of memory will come in at around $92,000; DEC-watchers put the cost of a Model 300 with 32Mb, two Digital Storage System Interconnect controllers, Ethernet adaptor and VMS licence for up to 40 users at a cool $100,000. All of the VAX 4000 machines will eventually support DEC’s 1Gb RF7X-DSSI disks. Analysts are interested in the new line not least because, as one of them puts it, they have around three times more computing power than the AS/400 – so they could not only offer a migration path from the 30,000 MicroVAX 3000s installed in the US, but also be a serious competitor for the AS/400. Terry Shannon, a DEC specialist at International Data Corp, believes the forthcoming VAXes are based on a modified version of the CPU used in the VAX 6000 Model 400 processor, but limited expansion, input-output and mass storage options mean that, according to Shannon, the VAX 4000s will not encroach on VAX 6000 territory. The VAX 4000 was foreshadowed here in March – along with a VAX 6000 Model 500; it is not clear whether the new low-end machines will come out as VAX 4000s or MicroVAX 4000s (CI No 1,385).

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