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June 28, 1987

TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INCLUDES UNIX MODEL OF EXPLORER II

By CBR Staff Writer

The new Explorer II artificial intelligence workstation that uses the new Explorer Lisp microprocessor (CI Nos 709, 711) is accompanied by a II LX model that adds a 68020 co-processor for running the TI System V implementation of Unix. Texas Instruments, which has a lot of trouble with nomenclature for its artificial intelligence products – it used to call the 32-bit microprocessor the Explorer Megachip – hasn’t even gotten around to finding a name for the Explorer operating system, even though the new models are accompanied by the third release of the environment. The new release adds interfaces for IBM SNA, DECnet, TCP/IP and Sun’s Network File System, and is standard with all Explorer IIs. Texas Instruments is justifiably proud of the chip, which integrates 60% of the original bit-slice on a single 1.2 micron CMOS chip 2.5 times as dense as the Motorola 68020. Many Lisp macroinstructions are executed in a single cycle and includes 114K-bits – over 3.5K-words – of on-chip RAM. The Explorer II processor comes on a board with 32K-words of writeable control store and two fast caches; there is a plug-in floating point accelerator option, and main memory goes from 8Mb to 128Mb, 32Mb per board using 1M-bit chips. It uses a 17 1,024 by 808 pixel monitor, and 140Mb and 516Mb disks are available. Deliveries start next month and a plug-in upgrade for existing Explorers is UKP17,295. A base system with 8Mb, display, 140Mb disk, local net interface and software is UKP56,295; the LX version with 68020, 32Mb memory, three 140Mb disks and a cartridge tape drive is UKP96,695.

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