Plans for a 68030-based parallel processor from the UK’s Consett, County Durham manufacturer Integrated Micro Products Ltd have been known about for some time, but as its launch at the European Unix User Show at Alexandra Palace, London next week approaches, further details have emerged. The as-yet unnamed machine is claimed to be the first genuine multi-processor to use an industry standard bus, normally the most likely site for system bottlenecks. In the Integrated Micro system, clusters of four 68030s share a private VSB bus and linked to the main system VMEbus. The Magix operating system, an implementation of Unix developed in conjunction with Unisoft, shares out the jobs amongst the processors. Three modules, a disk VME module, memory module and processor board, each with either two or four 68030s, can be mixed and matched depending on the type of configuration required. At the Unix Show a four processor system will be demonstrated, but Integrated Micro Managing Director Mark I’Anson said the intention was to produce systems with up to 16 processors, with 32 theoretically possible. Performance levels would be comparable to Sequent Computer’s 80386-based Symmetry range, predicted I’Anson – perhaps higher for smaller configurations – but systems would be significantly cheaper due to the standard bus, with an entry level list price of around $40,000. Integrated Micro will mostly be selling the boards and operating system to other manufacturers for integration in their own products. Full availability will be by the end of the year. Integrated Micro Products was among the first companies to declare for the forthcoming 88000 reduced instruction set microprocessor.
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