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April 28, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

Prime Computer Inc yesterday took the plunge into the mainstream Unix systems market with its own 80386-based machine – it has hitherto bought such products from Convergent Technologies – and the Merge 386 implementation of Unix System V.3 from Locus Computing Corp that supports multiple MS-DOS partitions as tasks. According to Computer Systems News, the company is also in talks with Natick, Massachusetts neighbour VMark Computer Inc about licencing its Universe product that supports Pick under Unix, so that users could also run applications written for the Prime Information implementation of Pick for its 50 Series minis on the 80386 machine. Called the EXL 316, the 16MHz 32-bit micro supports up to 58 asynchronous lines, and communicates with Prime 50 Series minis and other vendors’ systems via Ethernet and the TCP/IP protocol. Prime is also developing SNA links betweeen the EXL 316 and IBM systems. The machine comes with Prime’s own V.3 implementation as standard and Merge 386, from Locus in Santa Monica, California, is offered as an option; Prime also offers PC-Interface from Locus – it enables Personalikes used as terminals to an EXL 316 to move back and forth freely between MS- DOS and Unix applications. Development software offered includes Thoroughbred Basic, RM-Cobol-85, Prime Oracle and Ten/Plus, C, Pascal and Fortran 77. The base $23,900 price – here it’s UKP19,100 – includes 25 cabinet with 2Mb processor, a 90Mb disk, 60Mb streaming tape drive, and 10 lines, plus Unix System V.3. Main memory goes to 8Mb and disk to 1Gb. Merge 386 is $1,800, PC Interface is $1,500 on the host micro plus $150 for each Personal. Deliveries start worldwide in June. Prime says it wants a business split for the 316 of 60% through resellers, 40% through its direct sales force.

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