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Technology / AI and automation

NEC EXPANDS ITS 68020 UNIX LINE TO WIN OVER US RESELLER MARKET

Taking advantage of this week’s Unix Expo in New York, NEC Information Systems Inc is plunging into the Unix business systems market in the US with a major expansion of its Astra line. It launched four 68020-based business systems to follow last year’s introduction of a Unix-based dual 68020 engineering workstation (CI No 564). The new Astra XL line run under NEC’s Astr-IX operating system, an implementation of Unix System V with Berkeley 4.2 extensions, and will support from eight to 32 users. The range consists of the MicroXL, XL/8, XL/16 and XL/32. All four use a 16.7MHz 68020 and include a 68881 floating point co-processor and 68851 memory management unit. 2Mb of memory is standard, expandable to 4Mb on the XL/8 and MicroXL; 8Mb on the XL/16; and 16Mb on the XL/32. The XL/16 and 32 can also have 8Kb and 16Kb cache respectively. Disk capacity ranges from 210Mb on the MicroXL to 2.5Gb on the XL/32 with each also having a 5.25 floppy drive. The XL/8 can be upgraded to an XL/16 through a CPU swap, which in turn can be boosted to an XL/32 in the same way. The MicroXL can be expanded to support 16 users by adding a second cabinet but cannot then be expanded any further. NEC has been giving an XL/32 prototype free to software developers since June 1986 but says the new machines are about 50% more compact with faster CPUs and more memory and disk. NEC expects to have about 25 resellers by year-end to take on the likes of Altos, NCR, AT&T and Convergent. The Boxboro, Massachusetts company claims advantages include upgradability, growing software library; and 10% to 15% keener prices. Prices start at $8,495 for the MicroXL; $11,995 for the XL/8; $16,995 for the XL/16; and $21,995 to $60,000 for the XL/32. Software from Unify, Informix, Data Language and VMark Software is up. US ships in December.

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CBR Staff Writer

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