Computer Business Review

CONCURRENT MULTIPROCESSORS FEATURE NEW BUS ARCHITECTURE

by CBR Staff Writer| 21 October 1993

As expected, Concurrent Computer Corp has launched a new family of real-time Unix multiprocessor systems based on MIPS Technologies Inc's 150MHz R4400 RISC chip, which it claims incorporate a revolutionary new bus architecture. The Oceanport, New Jersey-based firm attests that its Maxion range provides six to eight times the performance of the existing Series 700 and Series 800 machines as a result of the new proprietary Crosspoint Processor Interconnect Architecture. Crosspoint essentially comprises an application specific integrated circuit seven-chip set, which connects CPUs to each other, to each of the local memory chips and to input-output devices. Each CPU is linked to Crosspoint and its own local memory chip of up to 128Mb via a CAMI CPU And Memory Interface which is also an ASIC. The CPU, memory chip and CAMI all sit on one board, while Crosspoint sits on another. In simple terms, Crosspoint supports multiple simultaneous connections that won't interfere with each other as long as they don't need to share anything. This means microprocessors can work very quickly - at 90 Specint92 to be precise - because bottlenecks are eradicated - such bottlenecks occur when a CPU can't send data to a memory chip or input-output device as quickly as it can process it. Furthermore, Concurrent claims, when new processors are added, performance increases by 95% each time. The new Maxion family comprises the model 9100, which comes with between one and three CPUs, has 340Mb of 3.5 disk, 525Mb QIC tape and a five-slot VME-6u chassis - this starts at UKP25,567 or $39,000; the model 9200, which sports from one to four microprocessors, has 1,059Mb of 3.5 disk, 525Mb of QIC tape and an 11 slot VME-6u chassis this starts at UKP45,411 or $69,000; and the model 9502, which includes between two and four CPUs, each with 64Mb of ECC memory, has a dual VME bus, 2,900Mb of 5.25 disk, 2,100Mb of QIC tape and a 21 slot dual VME-6u chassis - this starts at UKP108,938 or $165,000. The boxes are due to go into beta test next month, and should be available by the first quarter of 1994. However, Concurrent says, if customer demand warrants it, it will also devise ways of interconnecting various Crosspoints - and it should be able to do this within a year.

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