Baffled by IBM’s new numbering schema for RS/6000s? You will be after this The PowerPC and Power CPU architectures are moving towards a single nomenclature – PowerPC – which is going to make it difficult to distinguish between the single chip PowerPC and the multichip Power lines. Meanwhile, the RS/6000 line is being divided up […]
Baffled by IBM’s new numbering schema for RS/6000s? You will be after this
The PowerPC and Power CPU architectures are moving towards a single nomenclature – PowerPC – which is going to make it difficult to distinguish between the single chip PowerPC and the multichip Power lines. Meanwhile, the RS/6000 line is being divided up into client and server technologies sitting on different sides of the company. And the model numbers – they need a decoding system all of their own. This is the reasoning IBM provides. To distinguish between microprocessor versions in the line, it says all PowerPC-based machines will now begin with a letter – the C 10 for example. (Except the rackmounts, currently the 9XX line, will from now on be designated with an R – R10, R20…). The first number of the model name describes the physical size of the unit: 2 for small desktops, 3 and 4 for bigger systems, 5 for bigger desksides, to 9 for the rackmounts. The second digit or alphanumeric refers to the relative processor power of the model within its packaging arrangement, so the 580 is less powerful than the 590, the 3AT less powerful than the 3BT. Third digits or alphanumerics indicate, for example, that a T comes with a tube (monitor); W – without, as in 41W and 41T.
Evans & Sutherland plays its part
IBM offers four new graphics accelerators across the RS/6000 line. First is a GXT150L upgrade of its existing GXT150 two-dimensional unit. It sits directly on the PowerPC 601 bus in the new Model 41T and 41W workstations and doesn’t require a Micro Channel slot. The 8-bit device performs at a claimed 35% advantage over the existing system and costs $1,700. A Micro Channel version is $2,200, both in this month. The anticipated 24-bit Z buffering, 112-bit plane GXT1000 accelerator comes in three versions and is designed for OpenGL, Pex, Phigs, and IBM GL 3.2 three-dimensional graphics processing. The 001 costs $25,000, performs at 60 PLBsurf93 and 79 PLBwire93 and is due by the end of the year. The 002, with additional rasterisers does 138 PLBsurf93 and 85 PLBwire93 and is $29,000 from this month. IBM’s AG Advanced Graphics system which adds 178 bit planes and 5 PLBsurf93 to the 002 and supports larger texture maps is $6,650 from this month. The most interesting of the announcements is IBM’s decision to carry Evans & Sutherland Computer Corp’s graphics subsystem, calling it the Freedom Series 6000. It includes a new high-end module not yet available on the Sun Microsystems Inc Sparc systems that Evans & Sutherland currently supports, which perform at up to 3.5m vectors per second compared to the existing 3m modules. Existing Evans & Sutherland subsystems are available as the 6000 001 and 002, and are $65,000 and $83,000 respectively; new 003 level technology is $101,000. All take a single Micro Channel slot, and are available from now. It’s Evans & Sutherland’s first deal with IBM, but was known about (CI No 2,283).
Some models bow out in wake of new ones
The new 3XX, 5XX and RXX systems supersede some existing models – the 9XX rackmounts are upgradable to the R series. The 59H, RXX and other Power2 desksides are touted as symmetric multiprocessing-ready: as we thought, symmetric multiprocessing is now expected sometime in the second half, along with a new AIX 4 symmetric multiprocessing release.
Summarising the full collection of new models in the RS/6000 family
At the low end, the RS/6000 models 41T and 41W workstations (with and without monitor respectively) use an 80MHz PowerPC 601 with 32Kb cache standard and are rated at 78 SPECint92, 90 SPECfp92 and 13.3 Xmark93 – or 88, 98 and 14.2 respectively with 0.5Mb second-level cache. They come 16Mb to 256Mb RAM, 540Mb to 3Gb disk, SCSI 2, two full slots and two half-height slots. The 41T and 41W without level-two cache cost from $12,100 and $10,900 respectively – or $13,600 and $12,400 with. Both ship now. IBM is especially proud of its new C10 – compact – PowerPC 601 desktop server running at 80MHz. It’s rated at 78 SPECint92, 90 SPECfp92 and 404 TPC-C – 88, 98 and 485 respectively wi
th 1Mb secondary cache. It comes with 16Mb to 256Mb RAM, 1Gb to 4Gb disk and three Micro Channel slots. It’s available in this month at $12,800 without cache, from $15,800 with. Like the other PowerPC models, the CW10 is binary compatible with Power systems. The 59MHz Power2-driven offerings are available as a workstation – 3AT – or server – 380. They come with from 32Mb to 512Mb RAM, 1Gb to 4Gb disk, three and four slots respectively and are rated at 99 SPECint92 and 187 SPECfp92. The 3AT costs from $24,800, the 380 is $24,200 now. The 3BT workstation and 390 server use a new Power2 implementation with second-level cache running at 67MHz. They’re rated at 109 SPECint92 and 202 SPECfp92 – 114 and 205 respectively with 1Mb secondary cache (which overhauls Hewlett-Packard’s top-performing 7×5/125 workstation by one SPECfp92 mark, but is still a distant second on SPECint92).
Highest performing in the industry
IBM says the 390 will do 768 TPC-C without cache and 901 with. With 32Mb to 512Mb RAM, 1Gb to 4Gb disk, three and four slots respectively, they start at $28,300 and $28,200 respectively without cache from this month. With 1Mb cache the 3BT workstation is $32,300, the 390 server is $32,200, both from August. IBM describes the new 59H server, which tops-out the 5XX line, as the highest performing deskside uniprocessor server in the industry. It uses a 66MHz Power2 with 1Mb secondary cache and is rated at 122 SPECint92 and 250 SPECint92, going to 1122 TPC-C. It comes with 64Mb to 2Gb RAM, 4Gb to 12Gb disk and seven slots. It costs from $74,500, and will ship in this month. At the top end of the line, rackmounts are offered as individual processor drawers or building blocks for the first time. The R10 is little different from the existing model 970B, which uses a 50MHz Power chip. It goes to 57 SPECint92 and 99 SPECfp92, with 128Mb to 1,024Mb RAM, 1Gb to 4Gb disk and eight slots, and will cost $41,100 from this month. The R20 fits in the same form factor, but uses a 66MHz Power2 with 1Mb secondary cache. It performs at 122 SPECint93 and 250 SPECfp92, has from 128Mb to 2Gb RAM, 1Gb to 4Gb disk and eight slots. It costs $67,100, this month. The R24, which lives in a bigger housing than the other two, has a 71.5MHz Power2 with 2Mb secondary cache. It performs at 134 SPECint92 and 273 SPECfp92, 1,458 SPECnfs_/A93 operations per second and 357 TPC-A running Sybase. It also has from 128Mb to 2Gb RAM, 4Gb to 8Gb disk and has 15 slots. It costs from $98,100, next month. Rackmouts are housed in R00 – the rack/cabinet and can be strung together with High Availability Cluster Multiprocessing/6000 software. – William Fellows