The IBM-watching industry is now so enormous and its practitioners so intense that it is becoming harder and harder for IBM to spring any real product surprises, so unless anyone counts the fact that users will have to pay more for their software on the new top-end Model 70 in the AS/400 line than those with 60s pay, yesterday’s AS/400 enhancements were as expected. The new – rack-mounted – 9406 Model B70 supports up to 15 Workstation Controllers, up to 48 communication lines and up to 38.4Gb on disk. A new 16Mb memory board is available only on the Model 70 so if you need faster memory, you gotta pay more for your software. The new AS/400 3422/3430 Magnetic Tape Subsystem attachment supports 3422 or 3430 dual density half inch reel-to reel tape drives on the B30 to B70. The 600Mb version of the 9332 disk drive is now supported, offering 50% more per disk than the Model 400. The new printers (see below) are also supported. The B70 system unit is $310,000 and set for June 30, one week after the launch anniversary; same for the bigger disks, but our Florida friends were over-optimistic on tape support – that won’t come until the fourth quarter, nor will be expanded suport for workstations and communications lines. The thing is rated at 58,000 transactions per hour on Ramp-C, 1.3 times a B60. As for the 9404 processor used in the B10 and B20, an Expansion Unit for the B20 enables more disks, a Twinaxial Workstation Controller, ASCII Workstation Controllers, Three-Line Communication Controllers, Token Ring Network Adaptor, floppy unit, and optional cartridge tape unit to be supported, in particular more than doubling the previous maximum disk on the B20, to 1.9Gb. B20 main memory now goes to 28Mb, and IBM reckons it can now handle 42 active users and do 9,500 RAMP-C transactions per hour in native mode. The Expansion Unit is $9,800, the cartridge tape $3,780, and both are out on June 30.