New model E announcement press release (1973)

The following is the text of an IBM Data Processing Division press release headlined “IBM Announces Larger-Capacity System/7, Enhanced Capabilities for Sensor-Based Applications,” and distributed on July 31, 1973.

A new, larger-capacity model [Model E] of the IBM System/7, enhanced communications and stand-alone programming capabilities -- which broaden the scope of sensor-based applications -- were announced today by International Business Machines Corporation.

Modular in design, System/7 is IBM’s lowest-cost computer. It is a rugged and highly reliable system that can measure, test, analyze and control industrial and laboratory events as they are happening.

The new model’s significantly expanded memory of up to 65,536 words (16 bits) can allow users in a wide range of industries to run either several small applications, or a single large one -- without the need for a “host” computer.

Also announced for use with System/7 were:

The combination of large memory and increased capabilities makes the new System/7 model even better suited to function as a stand-alone computer for monitoring and controlling a variety of user tasks, such as manufacturing production lines, materials handling, continuous petroleum and chemical processes, laboratory automation of testing devices, and electrical power generation.

The new memories, which range in size from 16,384 to 65,536 words in 4,096-word increments, use extended bipolar circuitry with each chip holding 1,024 data bits -- eight times more than chips on earlier System/7 models. This advanced technology will permit additional memory increments to be installed quickly on-site in the new processor module as users expand their sensor-based applications.

Current users of System/7 will find it easy to step up to the larger-capacity model since it is fully compatible with the earlier processors and uses the same operator station and input-output modules. The modules perform all necessary analog-digital conversions and control the flow of data between the processor and sensing devices.

The new processor provides all the functions of previous models -- including a 400-nanosecond storage cycle time. It also offers new hardware features for use in advanced customer applications -- including a storage protection capability, which prevents changes from being made to data or programs stored in user-specified memory segments.

The binary synchronous communications adapter (BSCA) feature will permit users to communicate at high speeds -- up to 50,000 bits per second -- with a System/370, a System/3 or another System/7 having the BSCA feature. A remote System/7, for example, could quickly provide a larger IBM host computer in a company’s corporate headquarters with up-to-the-minute data on field operations for management analysis. The System/7 also could have access to the host computer’s data base for its own applications. In addition, the BSCA permits a program, prepared by the host computer, to be transmitted and loaded in the System/7.

Program preparation facilities that previously ran only on host systems have been made available for System/7, further expanding the computer’s flexibility to operate independently. A new version of Modular System Programs/7 (MSP/7) contains several enhancements -- including a new real time facility called Simultaneous Disk Services. This facility increases the computer’s performance by enabling data to be entered into or retrieved from a disk module while the System/7 is executing an application program.

FORTRAN IV and AML/7, program products which operate with MSP/7, simplify the task of preparing new applications by allowing a user to write programs in high-level languages.

Prices and Delivery

First customer shipments of the new model and MSP/7 will be scheduled to begin in December of this year. [1973]

Because of the high degree of modularity available to System/7 users, prices will vary depending on configurations. Monthly rental for a typical system -- including a processor with 16,384 words of memory, a sensor input-output module, a disk module, an IBM 5028 operator station -- will be about $1,600 with a purchase price of about $64,000. Additional memory increments of 4,096 words rent for $135, or can be purchased for $4,725.

FORTRAN IV will be scheduled for delivery in December 1973 under a license agreement at a monthly charge of $80. AML/7 will be scheduled for delivery in March 1974 under a license agreement at a one-time charge of $600.

The new System/7 model will be manufactured at IBM’s General Systems Division facilities in Boca Raton, Florida, where it was developed.