Those 9370s that represented IBM’s premier event for the busy autumn season looked quite competitive when they were announced last October, but they are only now coming up for volume shipments, and the world has moved on a long way since they were announced. Just how far is indicated by an item in the Washington DC-based Computer Economics newsletter. The letter has been doing its sums and come up with some raw price-performance and cost-of- ownership figures that begin to make the 9370 look a very pricey little box indeed. It chose as its target machine one of the mid-range IBM 9370 models, the 9375-60, and pitched it against the Prime 2755, Data General’s new Eclipse MV/15000-8 and DEC’s VAX 8350, which all arrived in wake of its announcement last October. An IBM 9375-60 has a memory range of 8Mb to 16Mb, an estimated performance of 1.2 MIPS, list price $106,200 plus monthly maintenance charge of $350 (which works out at 4% of list), all adding up to $88,500 per MIPS. A Data General MV/15000-8 looks a much better buy. It has a memory range of 4Mb to 32Mb, an estimated performance of 2.5 MIPS, a list price of $62,500, monthly maintenance of $275, 5% of list, and works out at $25,000 per MIPS. The Prime 2755, rated at 1.6 MIPS and costing $106,950 works out at $66,844 per MIPS, while the VAX line, which is intended to wilt and vanish away under the onslaught from the 9370, throws up the 1.8 MIPS VAX 8350 – a 12Mb to 80Mb CPU – for $88,000 works out at $48,889 per MIPS. Both the last two cost 9% of the purchase price for maintenance. A five-year cost of ownership comparison shows the pre-tax costs per MIPS as $94,000 for the IBM machine, just $28,000 for the Data General, $86,000 for the Prime and $59,000 for the DEC VAX. The five-year cost comparison is based on the assumptions that the systems will be purchased; the machines will have residual values of 10% at the end of five years; cash flows are discounted at 7.5% before tax; the IBM, DEC and Data General machines come with one year free maintenance where Prime gives 90 days; and that all systems are configured with 8Mb of memory – except for the VAX, configured with the minimum 12Mb.
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