The IBM System 3090 mainframe is a new machine with substantial new capabilies. The press releases did not explicitly mention that the two models, Model 200 and Model 400, were backwardly compatible with the System/370; instead, they were simply positioned as replacements for the IBM 3033.
The model 200 and 400 can be run together as a single unit or partitioned.
IBM entered into partnerships with several universities to promote the use of the 3090 in scientific applications, and efforts were made to convert code traditionally run on Cray computers.
- The processing unit, with two central processors in the model 200 and four central processors in the model 400. The processors in each model can share main storage and channels.
- Sixty-four megabytes of central storage, which are standard on the model 200; 128MB of central storage are standard on the model 400.
- Thirty-two channels, which are standard on the model 200; 64 are standard on the model 400.
- The IBM 3092 processor controller, which has two processors to monitor and control the processor complex and to provide maintenance support. An upgrade to the 3092 is required when upgrading to the 3090 model 400.
- The IBM 3180 model 145 display station, which attaches to the 3092. A minimum of two display stations are required for the model 200 and three for the model 400 to provide the operator and service personnel with access to the processor complex.
- The IBM 3097 power and coolant distribution unit. Two are required for the model 400.
- The IBM 3089 model 3 power unit or an equivalent source of 400 hertz power. Two power units are required for use with the model 200 and four with the model 400.
- The IBM 3864 model 2 modem or equivalent with automatic calling unit. One modem is required for the model 200, and two for the model 400 to take advantage of remote service capabilities.
In addition, the 3092 processor controller requires two IBM 3370 model A2 direct access storage devices with string switches or equivalent. The 3092 requires access to a customer-supplied 3420 model 4, 6 or 8 tape drive or equivalent.
A modem for “remote service capabilities” was standard; IBM recommended their IBM 3864 model 2.