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February 20, 1989


By CBR Staff Writer

The marriage of Honeywell Information Systems Inc and Groupe Bull SA will lead to a much closer harmonisation of product lines between Bull and the new Bull HN Information Systems Ltd, and has already been consummated with the addition of two new models to the XPS 100 family of Unix-based microcomputers – on show at this week’s Which Computer? Show at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (CI No 1,118). The 72-user X-25, and the new top-end X 45, rated at 8 MIPS for up to 144 users both make use of the faster, 25MHz version of Motorola’s 68020 processor, supported by a 68881 floating point processor. Faster memory – using 1Mb chip technology – and a greatly expanded cache memory contribute to the added power of the new models, which improve on on the older X-20 systems by offering 64Kb rather than the previous 16Kb limit. The cache is offered as an optional feature on the X-25, but according to Bull HN, increases the power of the machine from a rating of 2.6 MIPS up to 4.1 MIPS, a 60% improvement. The basic XPS-100 X-25 system, priced at UKP21,800, includes the processor and floating point unit, 4Mb memory, 1.2Mb floppy, 157.7Mb Winchester disk, a 150Mb streaming tape unit, 12 local or remote workstation ports and a Centronics printer port. Software includes a run-time 16-user Unix operating system, and Bull’s Easylife menu system. The XPS-100 X-45 has two 68020s and dual 64Kb cache memory, floating point memory and 8Mb main memory. There is also a floppy disk, 325Mb Winchester, 150Mb streamer tape, and 24 workstation ports and two printer ports, along with the same software as the X-25. Prices start from UKP45,800. In addition, the first offerings from X3S – Societe Internationale des Standards – a company set up in 1988 by Bull SA and the then Honeywell Bull to develop a single line of Unix products, are expected by the end of the year. Known only as New Common Line at the moment, the range is to offer a performance factor 15 times greater than that available from Bull’s present top end X 45 system, according to Andy Wilkins. This puts the new systems in the the range of 120 MIPS – further details are expected over the next few months.

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