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DEC will announce its long-awaited true multiprocessing release 5.0 of the VMS operating system in either early December or in late January, and will introduce it first on a symmetrical four processor machine, ac-cording to Computerworld. The US trade weekly says the new machine, based on the VAX 8700 uniprocessor, is designed to offer nearly double the power of the dual processor VAX 8800 and was among a series of unannounced products shown to 300 key cestomers in a secret room at DECworld 87 in Boston in September. DEC already offers four- and eight processor complexes, the VAX 8974 and 8978 introduced earlier this year (CI No 603), but these are simply four or eight separate 8700s joined by a VAXcluster controller and packaged up as an integrated system. Each of the CPUs in the 8974 runs its own copy of VMS with one acting as the controller. Degradation of up to 40% in the three secondary processors in an 8974 has been reported by analysts. The 8350 and the 8800 are dual processors in a master-slave configuration. The new 5.0 release of VMS is expected to spread the workload around the CPUs more efficiently so that degradation as CPUs are added is greatly reduced. It will be capable of running at least eight processors as a single image and is also expected to improve transacti on processing capabilities to allow DEC to go head-to-head against IBM in commercial accounts. The gap is clear: the VAX 8650 is rated at just 15 transactions per second on the ET1 benchmark, against 67 for the new Stratus XA2000 Model 160 (CI No 807), and 850 according to Gartner Securities for an IBM 3090-400 Computerworld reckons that ver sion 5.0 of VMS and the new four CPU VAX could be launched as early as the DEC Users Society meeting in Anaheim, California in December, but late January looks more likely.

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