VAX 6000 series

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A four-processor VAX 6200 system

The VAX 6000 series (originally named the VAX 6200 series) was a mid-range VAX line available in a wide scale of configurations, including large tightly-coupled multi-processors.

The CPUs, main memory and I/O adapters communicated via the XMI bus.

Early members of the VAX 6000 series did not have I/O peripherals which attached directly to the XMI bus; instead, they had an adaptor to a VAXBI bus, to which peripherals could be attached. When XMI peripherals appeared, the VAXBI bus and adaptor became optional.


The first members of the VAX 6000 Model 200 series were announced in April 1988, as the 'VAX 6200'. The single processor system was the VAX 6210. Up to four processors could be installed to produce a VAX 6240.

The follow on VAX 6000 Model 300 series was announced in January 1989. These replaced the VAX 6200 processor (KA62A) with a faster variant, the KA62B. In-cabinet upgrades were available. The VAX 6300 series, and all later members of the family, supported up to six processors in a system.

In July the VAX 6000 Model 400 series followed, the processor now being based on the Rigel chipset. The 400 notably added vector processing capability.

The next generation of in-cabinet upgrades was the VAX 6000 Model 500 series, based on the Mariah chipset. The VAX 6500 (and the VAX 6600) required additional signals and power. New systems shipped with upgraded cabinets; cabinet upgrade kits were available to retrofit older cabinets when upgrades were purchased.

The final member of the VAX 6000 series was the NVAX-based VAX 6000 Model 600 series. The with six processors installed this could reach 150 VUPs, and so could compete with the VAX 9440 for performance but at much lower cost.

Performance Comparison

Series Performance
1 CPU 2 CPUs 3 CPUs 4 CPUs 5 CPUs 6 CPUs
VAX 6200 2.8 5.5 8.3 11.0
VAX 6300 3.8 7.5 11.3 15.0 18.6 22.0
VAX 6400 7 13 19 25 31 36
VAX 6500 13.0 25.0 37.0 49.0 61.0 72.0
VAX 6600 32.0 58.0 84.0 106.0 128.0 150

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