BOSTON — Digital Equipment Corp., amid the glitter of a $20-million Boston Harbor party on the Queen Elizabeth 2 luxury liner, introduced two new powerful minicomputers Wednesday that could pressure other manufacturers to cut costs.
The company also beefed up its relatively weak offerings in the engineering workstation market.
During one of the most extravagant sales events ever sponsored by a computer maker, Digital officials said the new Microvax 3500 and 3600 minicomputers, designed for use by work groups and departments within large companies, are priced from $74,800 to $180,000.
Digital said the new Microvax 3500 computer performs 2.6 to 4.2 times more quickly than the 2-year-old Microvax II and has twice the memory capacity of the older system.
Departmental computers are a fairly recent innovation in the industry. They are usually very small minicomputers that can be linked together or to a large central processor.
Digital also introduced its new VAXstation 3200 and 3500 workstations Wednesday, priced from $19,900. Sun Microsystems Inc. and Apollo Computer Inc. have beaten Digital to the punch with workstations, which are single-user computers mainly used for scientific and engineering work.
The company also announced a fifth generation of its technology that allows computers to be linked together in networks, called Decnet.
Officials said the new technology allows Decnet to fully comply with Open Systems Interconnection Model, an international standard for linking computers from different vendors.
Digital, based in Maynard, Mass., is the world's third-largest computer company after IBM and Unisys Corp. The company, which has in the past advocated a low-profile method of salesmanship, launched the nine-day sales event, called DecWorld, on both the QE 2 and the Star/Ship Oceanic luxury liners.
Analysts believe that Digital's new product introductions will help the company maintain its star status in a lackluster industry.