Digital Equipment Corp. Strengthens Mid-Range Performance of the VAX Computer Line with the New VAX 8500 Computer System

Marlborough, Mass. -- April 7, 1986 -- PRNewswire -- Digital Equipment Corp. (NYSE: DEC) today further strengthened mid-range performance of the VAX computer line with the introduction of the VAX 8500 computer system.

The new product was announced at a meeting of press, financial analysts and industry consultants here in one of Digital's marketing centers.

The new system offers three times the performance of Digital's industry-standard VAX-11/780 computer, or twice the performance of the highly successful VAX-11/785 system, at the same price.

In addition, the new VAX 8500 computer is housed in a compact package that occupies only 5.6 square feet of floor space or one-third the footprint of the VAX-11/785 computer.

Today's announcement continues Digital's rapid rate of product introductions and extends the transition of the VAX family from the first generation launched in 1977, with the VAX-11/780 computer, to the advanced VAX 8000 series unveiled in October 1984.

The new 32-bit VAX 8500 system is a multifunctional, multiuser computer designed for customers in all technical and commercial markets. It employs the same VMS operating system as all VAX computers, providing users access to more than 3,000 application solutions. Digital's VAX computers, from the MicroVAX II to the VAX 8800, represent the industry's only fully compatible, integrated, and networked family of computers, spanning individual workstations to VAXcluster Systems, which deliver more-than-mainframe power and flexibility.

Prices of the VAX 8500 configuration begin at $260,000, including memory, communications, software licenses, and warranty. A preconfigured system, including disk and tape drive, is available for $299,000. First shipments are scheduled for next month.

Concurrent with today's new product announcement, Digital is also offering new configurations and price changes for the VAX 8650 system. These changes reflect the company's strategy to provide consistent price/performance alignment within the VAX family and pass along to users the economy of scale Digital has achieved through successful selling of both the VAX 8600 and VAX 8650. Memory for the basic system package of the VAX 8650 has been increased from four Mbytes to 16 Mbytes. The price of the system is $400,000. Nearly 2,000 VAX 8600 and VAX 8650 systems have been sold to date.

"The VAX 8500 system provides exceptional performance per square foot. This is particularly crucial to users who need more computing solutions, but who are faced with space and facility constraints," said Don McInnis, engineering program manager.

"The VAX 8000 Series offers the user the choice and flexibility of solutions at virtually every level of price and performance. All VAX systems use the same VMS software, protecting the user's investment. In today's competitive market we can now offer performance, plus a wealth of applications, networking capability, and service expertise as well as the growth path of VAX systems," McInnis said.

The VAX 8500 system offers large system features in a small physical package and dramatic improvements in price/performance. "Digital's new system effectively meets the needs of many applications by fulfilling both the processing needs and cost requirements of interactive time-sharing applications including Digital's ALL-IN-1 office automation software, program development, and computer-aided design," said Harvey Weiss, vice president, sales operations. With its mid-range processor, the option of two VAXBI busses for high-speed I/O applications, and low-cost packaging, the VAX 8500 system is one of the most attrctive cost per user VAX systems ever.

Because of the VAX 8500 system's impressive price/performance and compact packaging, it is the ideal choice for original equipment manufacturer's, government contractors, and application areas where machine space is a critical requirement.

The single processor VAX 8500 computer is a multiuser system sharing many of the same advanced design technologies as the recently announced second generation VAX computers. For example, the VAX 8500 system uses the same advanced high-performance bus that was introduced in January, the VAX bus interconnect (VAXBI). One VAXBI channel is standard on all VAX 8500 systems, with an option to expand to two channels. An optional VAXBI-to-UNIBUS adapter will be offered in the summer for connecting traditional UNIBUS devices.

In addition to the VAX 8500 system, two new supporting VAXBI options also were introduced today by Digital, allowing the VAX 8500 system to be the first VAX system to operate exclusively using the VAXBI bus.

-- The DMB32 VAXBI communications controller allows a combination of modems and terminals to communicate with the new VAX 8500 system. The DMB32 controller also provides a connection for high-speed line printers. It is priced at $4,350.

-- The TU81-Plus magnetic tape subsystem, with a native VAXBI adapter, includes a 256 Kbyte cache buffer within the tape drive to improve streaming tape performance. During periods of of heavy I/O system load, the additional bandwidth provided by direct connection to the high-speed VAXBI bus offers additional performance potential over that provided by UNIBUS-based tape subsystems. The TU81-Plus tape subsystem is priced at $27,500.

Digital, the recognized leader in local area and wide area networking, provides an Ethernet connection with the VAX 8500. Ethernet is the only internationally recognized local area network standard. Digital has installed more than 50,000 Ethernet connections supporting multiple networking protocols. Digital's networking gateways enable users to communicate with IBM SNA and X.25 public packet switching networks. In addition, Digital has announced its intentions to migrate Digital's Networking Architecture (DNA) to embrace the Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) model for international multi-vendor networks.

The VAX 8500 is an exceptional compute-server node that can be immediately configured into new and existing VAXcluster Systems. By linking together VAX computers into a VAXcluster System, a user extends his capabilities to greater-than-mainframe levels -- achieving high levels of performance, extensive sharing of files among many processors, greater system availability, and long-term incremental system growth.

The VAX 8500 system includes a one-year, on-site warranty, which has now become a standard feature for the currently shipping VAX 8200, VAX 8300 and VAX 8800 systems. The VMS operating system and layered software is offered for the VAX 8500 system under the new Monthly License Program announced in January. Customers continue to have the option to purchase software through paid-up licenses.

Support for ULTRIX-32, Digital's UNIX implementation, on the VAX 8500 system, will be available at a later date. ULTRIX-32 is now available for the VAX 8200 computer system, which was introduced in January.

Digital Equipment Corp., headquartered in Maynard, is the world's leading manufacturer of networked computer systems and associated peripheral equipment, and the leader in systems integration with its networks, communications and software products.



VAX 8500, VAX 8600, VAX 8650, ALL-IN-1, MicroVAX, UNIBUS, ULTRIX, VMS, and VAXcluster are trademarks of Digital Equipment Corp.

UNIX is a trademark of AT&T Bell Laboratories.

IBM is a registered trademark of International Business Machines Corp.

/CONTACT: Dave Bouffard of Digital Equipment Corp., 617-264-1627/

Copyright PR Newswire 1986 wire