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September 4, 1988

MULTI-USER SPECIALIX SI BOARD SERIES ADDS VALUE TO 80286, 80386 MICROS

By CBR Staff Writer

Specialix International Ltd has announced details of a new Specialix SI-Series of Unix- and Xenix-compatible input-output controller boards and cacheing disk drive controllers that claim to offer significant price and performance benefits over 80286 and 80386 based multi-user micros. Thames Ditton, Surrey-based Specialix was formed two years ago to supply input-output multi user expansion boards, and has sold over 6,000 of its AT8 board, bought in from Chase Research Ltd. Managing director Les Pilkington announced that distribution of the Chase boards (CI No 788) has now ceased, though servicing will continue for existing customers. The new S-1 boards, developed in-house, have already generated UKP500,000 of advance orders, according to Specialix, and comprise four, eight and 16 port models for both AT compatibles and PS/2 systems, and are said to achieve performance levels of 57,600 bauds per device – that’s six times faster than the AT8 boards. Rather than the usual Intel 80186, Specialix has opted for the unfashionable 10MHz Zilog Z280 super-eight 8-bit chip an upgrade of the old Z80 – for offloading memory intensive terminal input-output overhead from the host processor. In addition, the boards feature full modem control and transparent printer support. Specialix is also to offer an intelligent cacheing disk controller from Distributed Processing Technology Inc, Orlando, Florida, that claims to eliminate the common file access bottleneck, boosting performance by up to 1,000%. The company will continue to operate as a pan-European enterprise; the UK accounts for less than 30% of its trade, and the firm continues to be sole European distributor for the Corollary line of multi-processor Unix machines (CI No 882). Specialix is now looking to improve on last year’s turnover of UKP1.5m, and expand its OEM contracts that presently include Nokia Data in Finland and Honeywell Bull in West Germany. Future developments at the company are to focus on the graphics and inter-machine communication sectors, while a Stock Exchange listing for its shares is pencilled in for 1990.

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