Oxford-based Research Machines Plc has recently launched a new range of SCO Xenix and IBM-compatible workstations, called the Nimbus PC range in an effort to broaden its market base by moving into corporate networking. The workstations use Micro Channel Architecture and come in two basic models, the 80286, and the 80386. The range has two […]
Oxford-based Research Machines Plc has recently launched a new range of SCO Xenix and IBM-compatible workstations, called the Nimbus PC range in an effort to broaden its market base by moving into corporate networking. The workstations use Micro Channel Architecture and come in two basic models, the 80286, and the 80386. The range has two main selling features. Firstly, Research Machines has developed a new memory management system called the OverDOS Memory System under which the micros can have up to 8Mb of memory on the main board enabling them to run OS/2 and other memory-hungry applications like Presentation Manager. Furthermore, for networking, the system can store a network operating system such as NetWare outside the normal 640Kb of RAM capacity provided under MS-DOS, thereby enabling the user to to benefit from the machine’s full 16Mb RAM capacity. OverDOS also channels memory below 640Kb with EMS mapper chip 4.0 to make use of memory above 1Mb so as to increase the speed of moving between windows applications. For example, the user could be running Excel and have Pagemaker loaded onto the second megabyte of memory. This facility is also of value to large spreadsheet and database users and conforms to the Lotus-Intel-Microsoft specifications. The machines’ other distinguishing feature is that they include VGA professional graphics with an optional 19 screen enabling two A4-sized pages to be viewed at once – a useful facility for desktop publishing, as well as for computer aided design. Priced at UKP1,500, the 19 mono screen can be driven at 1,280 by 960 resolution using the proprietary graphics expansion board which does not take up a slot on the bus. Research Machines also offers colour expansion options up to an 800 by 600 resolution. The Professional VGA graphics come as standard, however, and have been enhanced so that any graphics packages can be used, since windows are configured using the proprietary windows driver to run them under a 640 by 400 resolution with a palette of 256 colours. Because of the microchannel architecture the boxes have a square footprint of only 14 and a height of 4. They also have three MCA slots enabling 40Mb, 60Mb, or 120Mb of hard disk to be fitted. The Nimbus PC range is targeted at the commercial networking market, and entry-level computer aided design systems, as well as at the education sector. The workstations are expected to open up new application areas for Research Machines, although it is anticipated that the MCA compatible 286 model will replace some 80286 markets. Prices for the 40Mb PC-286 start at UKP2,000, at UKP2,500 for the 40Mb PC-386, and at UKP2,150 for a NetWare colour VGA station, and all prices include a three year warranty for the whole system. The range goes into volume production in mid-May and will be available through the normal distribution channels.