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April 15, 1994


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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