In the field of secure systems, DEC has taken a licence to the RSA public key, developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and marketed exclusively by RSA Data Security Inc. The two companies will also co-operate in the area of technology exchange. The RSA technology has been endorsed as part of a proposed security standard […]
In the field of secure systems, DEC has taken a licence to the RSA public key, developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and marketed exclusively by RSA Data Security Inc. The two companies will also co-operate in the area of technology exchange. The RSA technology has been endorsed as part of a proposed security standard for the experimental Internet data communications network, with 500,000 users. Sun Salvo Eight-product blitz is calculated to maintain Sun’s leadership in workstations In its first major hardware launch since the Intel 80386-based 386i one year ago, Sun Microsystems came out with a bevy of new products at Comdex/Spring in Chicago on Wednesday evening. The new products included Sparc and Motorola-based workstations and servers, new graphics accelerators across a wider range of systems, and increased emphasis on application development for the Sparc architecture with its Sparcware programme – it says there are now 500 software products supporting the Sparc, with up to five new ports starting per day. Included in the announcement was the first Sun workstation for under UKP5,000 ($6,000 in the US), and a 12.5 MIPS RISC workstation with a starting price of UKP7,400 – both of which Sun hopes will attract volume purchasers, boosting its sales in the lucrative business marketplace. All products are shipping today, but Sun admits to limited availability, with volume production due in three to four months.
The Sparcstation 1 – with 11 applications-specific chips is the star of the Sun show Most significant of the new launches is the Sparcstation 1, a personal computer sized desktop system that uses a 20MHz Sparc processor sourced from LSI Logic Corp. The VLSI board has eight custom CMOS chips, and less than 50 components all told, increasing reliability, reducing power consumption, and making the system easy and cheap to produce, according to Sun, which claims that it will be capable of manufacturing one machine every four minutes when it reaches full production. LSI Logic says Sun engineers used its Modular Design Environment design tools and top down ASIC design methodology. Following system simulation, the total design was described, partitioned, simulated and translated into discrete ASIC chips and fabricated by LSI Logic. And the Modular Design Environment runs on the new box. Rated at 12.5 MIPS, and 1.4 MFLOPS with Sun’s new FPA+ floating point accelerator, the machine includes up to 16Mb memory and a sizeable 64Mb cache. The 16 by 16 by 2.8 cabinet can house up to 208Mb hard disk storage, and the machine also includes a 3.5 floppy drive: storage of over 1Gb is available by adding external desktop packs. Sun says that apart from performance, the Sparcstation’s main advantage over a personal computer is its expandibility: the company has included a new expansion bus – the S-Bus – which connects direct to memory and is claimed to be four times faster than a standard AT bus, with three slots for postcard size 3.5 expansion cards. SCSI bus, an Ethernet adaptor, and two serial input-output boards are also included. True to form, Sun is publishing the specifications of the S-Bus to encourage third party developers. Also included is a new emulation package that enables MS-DOS software to be run in a Sun window with cut and paste facilities at around the speed of an XT/AT – the software is thought to have come from Phoenix Technologies Inc. Sparcstations come with a pre-loaded Unix based SunOS workstation, and includes audio input-output facilities including 8-bit sampling facilities. Basic systems include 17 monochrome monitor and 8Mb memory, and cost UKP7,400. A 16 colour system with 8Mb RAM, 208Mb disk storage and 3.5 floppy drive is UKP12,700 here. New graphics board usable across the line Not least among the new announcements on Wednesday were the new graphics options, which Sun, unlike its rivals DEC on the recently launched DECstation, offers right across the workstation range. Its new GX accelerated graphics technology is said to improve all graphics related applications, fr
om windowing to two and three-dimensional computer-aided design and electronic publishing. Using two Sun-designed VLSI chips, the GX technology supports area fills, transformations, fast scrolling, anti aliasing and fast rendering of vectors and flat shaded polygons. It is being provided as standard on all Sun mid-range and high end systems, and as an option on the desktop models. For 24-bit, three-dimensional solids modelling, Sun offers GXP echnology, which is optimised to accelerate advanced PHIGS+ functions. Sun has also extended its TAAC software toolkits so that they can now handle three dimensional photorealistic imaging. High-end Sparcstations use Cypress chip At the top-end of its RISC range, Sun has introduced a new family of workstations and servers, the Sparcstation 300 series. Delivering 16 MIPS and 2.6 MFLOPS, the new systems are Sun’s fastest, and use the Cypress Semiconductor version of the Sparc, running at 25MHz: they offer double the performance of the existing Sun 4/110 for around the same price. The workstations include two models: the Sparcstation 330 and Sparcstation 370. The 330 comes with five slots, 8Mb to 40Mb main memory, and 1.3Gb of SCSI storage, while the 370 includes 12 slots, up to 56Mb memory, and 5.5Gb storage. The server configurations can support up to 36 users (Model 330) or 68 users (Model 370), and there is an additional Sparcserver 390, which includes an Intelligent Peripheral Interface mass storage option for faster input-output performance. The 390 has a 16 slot cabinet, and half inch tape drive for high-speed backup. Sparcstation 300s are priced from UKP24,000 to UKP33,000, and server configurations from UKP23,700 up to UKP124,600 for a 4Gb 390 system. Intel to win out over Motorola at Sun Sun now appears to be putting its major efforts into Sparc and Intel-based products, saying that it will be introducing an Intel 80486-based product to extend the 386i range, while Sparc systems will be used to deliver higher performance systems with a better price-performance ratio. The future of the Motorola-based range, which was frequently referred to as the technology of the 1980s, is not so clear: a 68040-based system will only be produced if the market demands it, according to Bill Passmore, vice-president of Sun’s UK and Nordic division. In the meantime, however, Sun has introduced 68030-based versions of its ageing Sun-3 series, including its lowest price system ever – the Sun 3/80. Using VLSI technology, Sun has implemented the 20MHz machine onto a single board, and uses the same enclosure as the Sparcstation 1. The system is rated at 3 MIPS, and like the Sparcstation can have up to 16Mb memory and 208Mb internal hard disk. Sun says the starting price of UKP4,900 for a 4Mb mono version puts the system in competition with less sophisticated systems such as the Apple Macintosh IIcx, IBM PS/2-70 and Compaq 386/20. And Sun has also introduced a 33MHz 68030 system, the Sun 3-400, which expands the Sun-3 range to 7 MIPS and 0.6 MFLOPS performance. The 12, slot, 8-128Mb machine can support up to 1.3Gb internal memory, and UK prices start at UKP33,600. Fileserver, database and multi-user servers are also available.