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  1. Technology
June 28, 1987


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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