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January 29, 1989


By CBR Staff Writer

Crawley, West Sussex-based Tulip Computers UK Plc, the British subsidiary of Tulip Computers NV, has launched its SX Compact 2, a machine that the company claims will redefine price performance standards for the business microcomputer market. Tulip is known as a supplier of IBM compatible micros. Indeed, Tulip is a company which in IBM’s opinion markets MS-DOS machines that are a little too compatible for comfort, to the extent that IBM Nederland is suing Tulip NV for allegedly using a pirate BIOS in its Compact range (CI No 1,076). These altercations aside, however, Steve McCall, the managing director of Tulip’s UK division, intends to increase his company’s share of the British micro market to 3% from its present 1% by the end of 1989. One of the gambits in this project is the SX Compact 2 machine for which Tulip says it has a UKP1.4m marketing budget. The SX is available in 20Mb and 40Mb configurations, is based on the 80386SX chip and runs at 16MHz. It has a standard internal memory of 1Mb (which can be expanded up to 3Mb on the motherboard), and provides Expanded Memory Support version 4.0 which gives access to memory above the 640Kb limit for MS-DOS programs that support EMS memory. With a petite 12 footprint, the SX has three full length slots for expansion, with further space for one half height board. Tulip claims that the new product’s performance advantage rests with the use of fast access hard disks (30mS for the 20Mb, 23mS for the 40Mb), as well as with the shadow random access memory function, which enables the Extended Graphics Array or Video Graphics Array read only memory BIOS to be copied into a 16K-bit shadow RAM, thereby speeding up these graphics applications by at least 200%. The SX Compact 2 comes with a dual graphics adaptor, but Extended and Video Graphics Arrays are available as options. It is compatible with all 80386-specific software as well as with Unix/Xenix, and the package includes parallel, serial ports, keyboard, and MS-DOS 3.3. Priced at UKP2,000 for the 20Mb disk version, and UKP2,250 for the 40Mb version, the SX Compact 2 is shipped with 12 months warranty, the first six months being free on site maintenance, courtesy of Nationwide Systems Engineering. Tulip has also announced price reductions as part of its aggressive marketing strategy. The entry level Compact 2 MS-DOS micro now retails at UKP900, while the 40Mb AT Compact 2 is now priced at UKP1,750.

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