A mainframe processor due from Unisys Corp. late this year will employ a relatively new internal design that may give the struggling computer maker a much-needed shot in the arm. The new A19 relies on "super-scalar" techniques from scientific computers to execute many instructions concurrently. The A19 can overlap as many as 140 operations, more than 10 times as many as conventional mainframes can.
Unisys says it designed the A19 specifically to speed through large volumes of transactions. And because the machine achieves its speed without using the fastest circuits, it doesn't need costly, bulky chilled-water cooling systems. The bottom line, claims Unisys, is that it will cost an estimated $911,894 less to run over five years than a comparable IBM mainframe. The A19 should help Unisys hold on to most of its former Burroughs Corp. customers who use large A-series mainframes, but the high cost of rewriting software from other systems would probably discourage potential converts.