Sun Microsystems UK, which reckons it now has some 4,000 workstations installed, has now put UK pricing and availability on the 386i 80386-based workstations announced earlier this month in the US (CI No 903). It says it has some 200 orders for the machine and has been providing beta test versions to some customers, but says first full shipments will be around the first of June. The machines come in diskless configurations, or with one 91Mb or one or two 327Mb disks; memory is from four to 16Mb and screen options range from 15 and 19 mono to 14, 16 and 19 colour. All have 1.44Mb PS/2-compatible floppy, 80387 co processor, four XT/AT slots and SunOS 4.0 with MS-DOS compatibility – the first incarnation of the SunOS release, which introduces conformance to AT&T’s base System V Interface Definition and includes a new virtual memory system and source compatibility across Sun product lines. Pricing for a low-end diskless 3 MIPS Sun 386i/150 with 20MHz 80386 and 15 mono screen is UKP6,000; the equivalent 386i/150-4X including cache memory claimed to increase performance to 4 MIPS is UKP7,150, while a diskless 386i/250 with 25MHz 80386, said to provide 5MIPS, is UKP10,500 with 19 mono screen. A 386i/150 with 327Mb and 19 colour screen is UKP14,250; an equivalent 386i/250 is UKP18,000. Sun sees the reseller and rental channels as particularly important for the product. Software still to come from Sun before the company faces the switch to the System V.4 merged AT&T/Berkeley Unix is SunOS 4.1, due by the end of the year and introducing the X.11/NeWS networked graphics support. NETdisk, meanwhile, is the promised generalised support for diskless workstations that opens up the entertaining prospect of, for instance, Sun diskless nodes being booted from a copy of SunOS held on a server from workstation arch-rival Hewlett-Packard. Sun expects the product to be most used by supermini makers looking to act as hosts to networks of workstations.
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