National Advanced Systems Europe will today beat Comparex, Olivetti, and its US parent to become the first Hitachi-supplied company to announce IBMulators designed to plug the gap in IBM’s current line between the 4381 and 3090 that will be left by the expected ending of manufacture of the 308Xs. The two machines, the AS/VL 50 and 60, are uniprocessors based on Hitachi’s M-660. Like IBM’s recently-announced E version 3090s, they use 1M-bit memory chips. NAS also has a new tape cartridge subsystem, and will ship the top-end XL mainframes early and with 1M-bit memories. The VL machines both have eight to 32, 6 Mbyte-per-second channels, Dynamic Working Storage – based for the first time on low power 64K-bit hybrid Bi-CMOS chips – between buffer storage and main memory, and a 40,000-gate array CMOS input-output processor. Memory ranges from 32Mb to 128Mb in 32Mb increments. NAS conservatively rates the AS/VL 50 at well over twice the performance of IBM’s 4381-13, while the AS/VL 60 is comparable to an IBM 3090-150E. At 7′ by 2′ 5 by 4′ 10 the boxes are claimed to be roughly one-eighth of the size of the smallest 3090, and to use around one-sixth of the power. A field upgrade from an AS/VL 50 to a 60 is claimed to take five minutes. They include a full implementation of the Remote Operating Control Facility found on the IBM 4381 and NAS looks for the VL series to be the best selling line we have ever had and strongly hints that the 50 and 60 will be followed by a true dyadic implementation. Prices are pitched in the usual NAS Europe way at 80% of the price of an IBM machine of comparable performance. Early ships start in May with full delivery in the third quarter this year. The new cartridge subsystem, the 7480, supports streaming and double-speed channels. It consists of an A22 control unit with up to four B22 drive units, each with two drives – maximum configuration is two A22s with 16 drives – and optionally offers data compression that increases the nominal 200Mb tape capacity up to a maximum of 800Mb. NAS claims that using the 7480 to back up 1.2Gb of disk takes nine minutes and needs three cartridges or reels, compared with nearly double both figures with an IBM 3480. On the XL series, NAS has increased the main storage capacity to 1Gb on the 50, 60, 70 and 80 models and to 2Gb on the 90 and 100 models using the new 1M-bit chips. Delivery of the 90 and 100, and of expanded storage, announced only in January (CI No 598), is being moved forward from third to second quarter this year and 128-channel support on the 90 and 100 will also be delivered – but not until fourth quarter 1987.
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