VAXstation 3520 and VAXstation 3540
Product Description

This document was copied from DEC's Electronic Connection on July 31, 1998. It was probably written at about the time the systems were introduced - Jan. 1989.

Technical Description

Add another dimension to your problem-solving capabilities with these powerful workstations.

Here's a pair of machines that redefines the term "workstation performance" -- the VAXstation 3520 and VAXstation 3540. These multiprocessor workstations, designed for 2D and 3D applications, offer five to ten times the performance of the VAX-11/780 systems! VAXstation 3520 and VAXstation 3540 are ideally suited for electrical or mechanical CAE/CAD/CAM, scientific visualization, molecular modeling, and other scientific applications.

The VAXstation 3520 and VAXstation 3540 are the first workstations to fully integrate 2D and 3D graphic standards, imaging and windowing systems. Digital's VMS and ULTRIX operating systems, combined with DECwindows and VAX PHIGS, provide a rich development and user environment.


VAXstation 3520 and VAXstation 3540 features:


Performance-oriented architecture for today's new style of networked graphics computing.

The VAXstation 3520 and VAXstation 3540 let you run multiple applications locally or over the network with increased throughput and performance. Several processes such as X Client and X Server in all X-based applications can execute simultaneously. Multiple applications run concurrently without loss of performance or throughput, taking advantage of the system's multiprocessor architecture.

3D Graphics Now Supported Under DECwindows

DECwindows, Digital's implementation of the X Window System, supports 2D GKS and 3D PHIGS graphics standards. For the first time, graphic standards are fully integrated into an X Window-based system. Both 2D and 3D applications can now run in a heterogeneous environment either on a local workstation, or across a network of workstations. The VAXstation 3520 and VAXstation 3540 deliver unprecedented compatibility, portability, and flexibility for an extensive array of applications.

DECwindows is a powerful user and applications development environment which provides you with a consistent "look and feel," independent of the hardware or software environment. Users share data across a network of different operating systems and mixed hardware. Expensive resources are more efficiently used; productivity rises.

High-Performance 2D and 3D Graphics

The VAXstation 3520 and VAXstation 3540 have powerful new capabilities for 2D and 3D graphics. Custom VLSI graphics processors respond instantly to user commands. The optional true-color display renders images with absolute color accuracy. A large 2K X 2K image buffer provides off-screen memory for storage images that can be displayed in a fraction of a second. Independent color maps for each window enable you to make changes to one applications without affecting applications running in other windows.

The VAXstation 3520 and VAXstation 3540 support motion in three dimensions, smooth shading depth-cueing and true color display in hardware for faster response. Both the standard 8-bit and optional 24-bit displays are double-buffered for smooth dynamic motion. A full 24-bit Z-buffer provides hidden surface calculations for solid modeling applications and can be used concurrently with double buffering. Display lists residing in the system's virtual memory can be as large as one Gigabyte.

High-Quality Hard Copies

To capture those stunning graphics on paper or transparencies, Digital offers the LJ250 Companion Color Printer. For a black-and-white hardcopy solution, choose from Digital's array of dot matrix and laser printer offerings.

Storage and Memory Options

The base VAXstation 3520 system has dual CVAX CPUs and eight graphics color planes. For true color (24-plane) display, add the optional graphics module. For additional processing power, select the VAXstation 3540. Choose from a range of options to configure the system that meets your requirements. You can have up to 64 Mbytes of memory, and you can add as many as four 332 Mbyte RZ55 SCSI disks to provide over 1.3 Gbytes of storage in the 3520; up to three disks can be added to the 3540. The TK70 tape drive provides 296 Mbytes of back-up storage per cartridge.


The VAXstation 3520 and VAXstation 3540 are network ready, equipped with both thickwire and ThinWire (switch selectable) Ethernet ports to simplify connection to a DECnet network or a Network File System (NFS).

Both VMS and ULTRIX support multiple networking protocols, so you can choose between TCP/IP and DECnet/OSI. You can create work groups using either VAXcluster (VMS) software or NFS (ULTRIX).

Choose Between Powerful VMS or ULTRIX Operating Systems

Like all Digital workstations, the VAXstation 3520 and VAXstation 3540 deliver VAX compatibility, plus full compatibility and support for all major industry standards. Your ability to operate between the environments is further enhanced by the VMS/ULTRIX Connection software, which adds NFS server functions and TCP/IP to the VAX/VMS environment. VAX/VMS and ULTRIX software offer a wide range of tools, utilities, and languages that have become standards in the technical community.


BA213 System Enclosure: 27 in H x 21 in W x 17.8 in D
(60 cm x 53 cm x 45 cm);
weight 108 lbs
(55 kg).
VR295 Color Monitor:

18.5 in H x 20 in W x 21.5 in D
(47 cm x 50.8 cm x 54.6 cm);

weight 75 lbs
(34 kg).

Configuration Information

Two standard configurations are available. Each system is housed in a BA213 pedestal cabinet with a 12-slot backplane and space for additional mass storage devices.

VAXstation 3520 includes:

VAXstation 3540 includes:

VMS systems include:

Note: Software and documentation must be ordered separately.

ULTRIX-based systems (VAXstation 3520 only) include:

Ordering Information

A base system, keyboard and memory must be ordered separately. Mass storage, graphics expansion, and software media and documentation are optional.

Order No.

Base System

VAXstation 3520 with 3D color, 8-plane graphics, BA213 enclosure, Ethernet controller, 19 in color monitor, VMS including DECwindows, VAXcluster, DECnet-VAX and PHIGS licenses.

VAXstation 3520 with 3D color, 8-plane graphics, mouse, BA213 enclosure, Ethernet controller, 19 in color monitor, ULTRIX-32 including DECwindows, NFS, TCP/IP, VAX C/ULTRIX, Portable C Compiler (PCC), PASCAL compilers, Source Code Control System and PHIGS licenses.

VAXstation 3540 with 3D color graphics, quad CPUs, 8-plane graphics, mouse, BA213 enclosure, Ethernet controller, 19 in color monitor, VMS including DECwindows, VAXclusters, and DECnet-VAX and PHIGS licenses.


U.S. English keyboard


8 Mbyte ECC memory

16 Mbyte ECC memory


Mass Storage

332 Mbyte 5.25 in SCSI disk, field installed

332 Mbyte 5.25 in SCSI disk, factory installed

TK70 296 Mbyte tape kit (includes TK70 tape, TQK70 tape controller and tape adapter module)

Graphics Expansion

16-plane graphics expansion module

Software Media and Documentation

VMS Single-User Kit, DECwindows, and Documentation on TK50

PHIGS V2.0 for VMS on TK50

ULTRIX-32 Single-User Kit, DECwindows, and Documentation on TK50

PHIGS V2.0 for ULTRIX-32 on TK50

Pointing Device

Graphics tablet

* All systems require a minimum of one memory module of choice. System maximum is 64MB. Select a maximum of four memory modules or three memory modules if a tape kit is used.

Return to the VAXstation 35x0 Information

Return to the Vintage Computer Collection

This document was converted from plain text to HTML by
It is presented here for reference purposes only.