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August 27, 1987

OLIVETTI “TO LAUNCH 68020-COMPATIBLE MINI FROM EDGE IN NOVEMBER”

By CBR Staff Writer

Edge Computer Corp, the company that manufactures processors that are compatible with, but much faster than, the Motorola 68020, and is now based in Scottsdale, Arizona, has signed what is thought to be a major OEM deal with Olivetti. The Italian is expected to use the high-performance CMOS processor in a new high-end machine that is expected to be launched in November. The agreement comes only a month after it set up its first European offices in Lucerne, Switzerland, and Edge promises that two more big deals are on the way – each is said to be worth from $20m to $50m a year. Started by a team of mainframe designers who learned their trade at Honeywell, Edge Computer has swallowed $34m of venture capital, and is now preparing to go public. It plans to open subsidiary operations for the major European markets in the near future. Edge recently acquired 51% of Pick-Popper Toltec, where Olivetti was already an investor (CI No 622), and is currently working on Symmetrix – an implementation of Pick and Unix running concurrently – which it says will allow it to address the high end of the Pick marketplace, claiming that the 11 MIPS dual-processor Edge 1200 supermini has already been tested with over 1,000 users connected. Olivetti is also an investor in EnMasse Computer Corp of Acton, Massachusetts, which recently licensed Edge/Toltec for the use of its transaction-intensive Unix implementation. Edge’s 32-bit processor is a proprietary CMOS VLSI implementation of an architecture close to the so-called Harvard Architecture, which uses parallel fetching of operands and addresses over multiple 32-bit buses, effectively achieving a memory bandwidth that is 64 bits wide. The processors implement the same instruction set as the Motorola 68000 chip, but the company claims that its CPUs have a three to five times performance – and 18 to 24 months’ time – advantage over Motorola, and are likely to maintain that advantage even as successive generations of the 68000 family are released.

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