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  1. Technology
July 26, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

IBM yesterday duly announced its anticipated F series of 3090 mainframes as the S series, with no surprises unless the inflationary claim that the top-end 600S model under ESA offers 56% more processing power in database applications than a 600E under XA causes raised eyebrows; there are also now graduated monthly licence charges for MVS/ESA and VM/XA according to the size of machine on which it is to run, which seems to eliminate the benefit of taking a 400S and partitioning it as two 200Ss ESA is now 15% more expensive than announced on a 600S, 15% cheaper on a 120S. The 10-model line – called the Enterprise System or ES/3090 – was accompanied by news that the MVS/ESA Enterprise Systems Architecture release of the MVS operating system became available yesterday, a month ahead of plan. The machines, as expected, are also available as field-upgrades from the 3090Es – but not until next year. And it is important to understand that while upgrades will be done within existing frames, the move to an S effectively involves a complete processor swap-out for all but the two smallest models: the clock has been wound up to 15nS from 17.2nS and the chips switch 70% faster, implying something around 470pS. Performance of the Vector Facility has also been enhanced by up to a claimed 40%. Price-performance gains for the S models are claimed to be in the range of 15% to 25% – but some of the performance improvement is down to the new ESA software, so those gains will also be available from the plug-compatible competition once they have done the ESA microcode. There are S versions of all the existing machines – 120, 150, 180, 200, 280, 300, 400, 500 and 600 – and there is one new model, the 170S uniprocessor. The 120S, 150S and 170S are apparently in the existing 3090 technology while the 180S up use new 2,000 against 600 gate-per-chip arrays on 38 layer substrates against 36 under the Thermal Conduction Modules. The new circuits were designed at IBM’s Corbeil-Essones base in France, and the internal structure has been comprehensively redesigned, in part to enable further modifications and enhancements in the future. The 180S is claimed to offer 33% more performance than the 180E, and 120S to 600S is claimed to be a 15:1 power range. Enhancements include wider data paths and a redesigned floating point function. The only three operating systems IBM wants users to run on the S models are MVS/ESA, VM/XA and the AIX/370 Unix. One other new product is the Model 2 of the 3044 Fibre Optic Channel Extender, which extends the maximum transmission distance between the channel and appropriate controllers and runs at 4.5Mbytes-per-second, four times the speed of Model 1. Disks can be twice the distance and tape storage over three times the distance from the CPU. Prices for the new machines range from $985,000 for the 120S to $12.4m UKP1.7m to UKP11.4m in the UK and going from a 600E to an S is UKP1.9m; a 180 to a 200S is UKP2.45m; and from a 150E to 170S is UKP475,000; the 120S and 150S will be available in September, the others in the fourth quarter of 1988. Upgrades to the Ss will be available in the first half of 1989.

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