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April 15, 1994

DEC’s SABLE SERVER COULD SPELL DEATH TO ITS COBRA

By CBR Staff Writer

Digital Equipment Corp has been taking orders for its highly publicised Alpha symmetric multiprocessing machine, code-named Sable, first seen publicly at Comdex/Fall and again last month at UniForum and now officially dubbed the DEC Server 2100 Model A500MP, and the system could help improve its precarious position. An entry-level uniprocessor will cost $26,900 for 64Mb RAM, 2Gb storage, a CD-ROM and a floppy, with either OSF/1 or OpenVMS – some $8,000 more than essentially the same machine pre-configured with Windows NT. The long-time DEC watcher and Illuminata chief researcher Terry Shannon reckons the Sable (an Arctic mammal killed for its fur) is actually a mongoose that is bound to eat Cobra, DEC’s AXP 4000 series which Shannon says will now interest only the Futurebus+ crowd. Supporting Shannon’s contention are reports that the price of the 4000, conceived of as only an interim box, will be reduced by a third. Sable will ship this month with OSF/1. A pre-release of the OSF/1 3.0 with symmetric multiprocessing support will be available, with a full product version coming in June or July. According to data released at DECus France the week before last, a uniprocessor Sable should be good for 160 tps and a four-way for 650 tps. Additional CPUs will cost $9,000 each. The grapevine claims Sable, consistently advertised as a maximum four-way, will actually expand to eight processor down the road. Sources say the 190MHz 21064/Peripheral Component Interconnect machine is ready for the EV5 Alpha, and possibly the EV6. It will upgrade to a 275MHz processor later this year. A rack-mounted version, code-named SuperSable and now officially the A600MP, is also ready.

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