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February 8, 1989

WANG LABORATORIES BUILDS SIERRA-SCALING VS10000s AROUND CUSTOM ECL ARRAYS FROM AMD

By CBR Staff Writer

Filling in the details on those new top-end VS10000 machines announced by Wang Laboratories Inc last week (CI No 1,106), the new models – which got a surprisingly low-key send-off, with nothing on the usual wires – consists of uniprocessors, the top one being rated at 13 MIPS. The VS10000s replace the two-year old VS7000 series at the top of Wang’s line – well those were only remodelled VS300s anyway, but most of them will continue to be marketed as mid-range machines, and Wang expects them still to account for more unit sales than the 10000 series. Discontinued is the 7320 dual processor, rated at 6.5 MIPS, because the VS10000 Model 50 is more powerful and cheaper. As there are now no multiprocessors in the VS line, it is open to Wang to add a dual VS10000 when users need that performance. Wang is pitching the the VS10000s line at DEC’s VAX 8800 series, and IBM’s 4381 and even low-end 3090 mainframes, up to the 3090 Model 150E. Hitherto, the company has found it hard to break into the data processing market at this level because of the 7380’s relatively low throughput. The 10000 machines, which were code-named Pegasus, use a pipelined two-board central processing unit with 28 3,500-gate ECL arrays which were developed by Wang and fabricated by a new chipmaking partner for the Loweller, Advanced Micro Devices Corp. According to Electronic News, the performance differences between the three models are down to the use of faster support circuitry on the upper models, although the basic machine cycle on all three is 44nS. The machines all use the same cabinet and include a 181Mbyte-per-second system bus. Maximum memory capacity is 256Mb, although Wang’s VS operating system presently supports only 64Mb maximum. VS is also the only operating system presently supported: VM/VS, Wang’s answer to IBM’s VM, and Unix, are still in the works. Pricing in the US for VS10000 systems with a perpetual operating system licence starts at $445,000 for a Model 50 with 16Mb of memory. A Model 50 with 32Mb memory is $470,000, while similar Model 75 and Model 100 machines list for $625,000 and $770,000 respectively. Along with the new VS10000 machines, Wang has also released a 17.3Gb storage cabinet, as well as a new 1.08Gb 8 drive from Control Data Corp’s Imprimis Technology, which supersedes a 452Mb 9 drive as Wang’s highest capacity drive. The drive is priced at $25,000, the cabinet, which can house up to 16 disk drives, sells for $5,000.

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