The following is the text of an IBM Data Processing Division press release distributed on June 30, 1970.
A new computer system - - the IBM System/370 - - was announced worldwide today by International Business Machines Corporation. Its two models use advanced design techniques previously available only in IBM's ultra-high-performance computers.
Introducing the new system at a press conference here, Thomas J. Watson, Jr., IBM chairman of the board, said:
"We are confident that the performance of System/370, its compatibility, its engineering and its programming will make it stand out as the landmark for the 1970s that System/360 was for the Sixties."
System/370 Models 155 and 165 can provide computer users with dramatically higher performance and information storage capacity for their data processing dollars than ever before available from IBM in medium- and large-scale systems.
Business and scientific computers users will be able to move up to the higher performance System/370 to handle their remote computing and large data base needs of the Seventies. They can do so without having to reprogram the vast majority of their existing System/360 applications.
System/370 carries forward the concept of compatibility first introduced by IBM in 1964 for the widely used System/360. Models 155 and 165 can share input and output equipment and proven programming systems that transcend specific models. They can use nearly all existing IBM peripheral devices, as well as a new 2,000-line-per-minute printer and an 800 million character-capacity disk storage. The printer and disk storage units included in today's announcement are designed to step up input and output capabilities to System/370's high internal operating speed.
Both models of System/370 are now in production - - Model 155 at Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and Montpelier, France; Model 165 at Kingston, N.Y. Model 155 is being demonstrated today in Poughkeepsie.
"We have met two very important objectives with System/370 - - price/performance and compatibility," said F. G. Rodgers, president of IBM's Data Processing Division. "First, we have achieved greatly improved performance by putting much of the advanced technology of IBM's ultra-high-performance computers within the reach of medium- and large-scale computer users."
"And we have achieved compatibility since System/360 users will be able to run most of their existing programs on the new system without change," Mr. Rodgers said.
To illustrate System/370 performance and economy, Mr. Rodgers noted that the new Model 165 operates up to five times faster internally than System/360 Model 65. Yet the user's equipment cost to achieve the increased performance level is relatively modest in comparison with the gain in processing capability. The Model 155 has up to four times the internal operating speed of System/360 Model 50.
The basic machine cycle times of the Model 165 and 155 central processors are 80 and 115 nanoseconds (billionths of a second), respectively. A cycle - - the time it takes to execute an instruction - - is a major factor in how much work the computer can do in a given period.
Each model uses a buffer memory, an advanced technique previously offered by IBM only with ultra-high-performance systems. The buffer, which operates at the same speed as the central processor, holds large blocks of data and instructions ready for immediate use, thus speeding the processing of information.
Toward expanded applications
"The applications of the Seventies will involve increased multiprogramming, remote computing, management information and tele-processing networks that make a centralized computer data base available to people in many places," Mr. Rodgers said. "The management of virtually every business wants and needs immediate access to current information organized so it can be used effectively," Mr. Rodgers said. "To do the job, banks, manufacturing firms and insurance companies - - as well as government agencies and many scientific users - - need faster, more efficient computers and larger capacity data storage. System/370 meets those requirements."
Although internal operating speed is one way to measure computer performance, users generally are more concerned with how rapidly the system can finish its assigned tasks. This capability - - called throughput - -depends on a number of factors such as memory size, input and output equipment and the efficiency of the operating systems and the user's programs.
To help customers exploit the full throughput potential of System/370, IBM has built in many advances keyed to reliable performance, including:
New mass storage, printer
Users also can increase system throughput by attaching to System/370 the new IBM 3330 disk storage and the IBM 3211 printer.
Designed for large data base applications that require ready and rapid access to vast amounts of information, the 3330 combines high operating speed with the flexibility of virtually unlimited storage on removable, direct access magnetic disks. It has three-and-a-half times more on-line storage capacity - - up to 800-million bytes (more than 1.5-billion decimal digits) - - than other IBM disk storage facilities and has an average access time of only 30-thousandths of a second.
In addition to the 3330, System/370 users can take advantage of the very fast storage available with the recently announced IBM 2305 fixed head storage facility. This device previously was offered only with IBM's most powerful computers, System/360 Models 85 and 195. It is designed to provide direct access to data the central processor uses repeatedly, such as control programs and working files. The average access time of the faster of two models is only 2.5 thousandths of a second.
The new IBM 3211 printer will help speed processed information to the various users within an organization. It can turn out reports and other documents at 2,000 lines a minute, almost twice as fast as any previous IBM printer. With a smaller character set, 2,500 lines a minute can be achieved.
Control devices built into the new printer provide highly accurate spacing and clear copies. A powered stacker automatically adjusts for the height of the paper stack. Through an innovative forms control buffer in the printer, the computer can automatically specify the job-to-job formatting instructions. This eliminates the need for operating personnel to switch carriage control tapes when printing formats need to be changed. The 3211 can be used with System/370 and with most System/360 models.
Prices, programming and delivery
Monthly rental for a typical System/370 Model 155 having 768,000 bytes of main memory is $47,985, with a purchase price of $2,248,550. Monthly rental for a typical Model 165 with 1-million bytes of main memory is $98,715, with a purchase price of $4,674,160.
Purchase customers may use IBM maintenance service for the new system. The minimum monthly maintenance charges covering the purchase systems priced above are $6,050 for the Model 155 and $12,450 for the Model 165.
Operating systems support for System/370 will be available at initial delivery of each model. System/370 education courses for customers will begin this fall at all IBM Education Centers. And a variety of new and improved program products that operate with System/370, as well as with certain models of System/360, are being announced today.
First customer shipments of System/370 Models 155 and 165 are scheduled to begin next February and April, respectively.