Mystery system

Jon Elson elson at
Thu Feb 4 20:56:01 CST 2016

On 02/04/2016 07:48 PM, Mike Loewen wrote:
>    I'm trying to identify a system which appeared in "The 
> Killer Elite" (1975), with a room full of tape drives and 
> a couple of terminals:
>    The drives appear to be IBM 3420s, but with an 
> additional box on top, labeled "SMS".  The system itself 
> doesn't appear in any of the shots. Some sort of IBM 370, 
> perhaps?
I'm thinking they might be 2420's.  They have a "9" label on 
the head cover.  This is to distinguish 9-track from 7-track 
drives, I don't think they put those labels on 3420 drives.

The drive addresses are 5xx, meaning they are attached to 
channel 5 on the CPU.  That is not impossible on a 360, but 
few 360's could handle that many channels.  The cluster of 
3270's also suggests a 370 system, although they certainly 
could be used on 360's.

The SMS boxes displayed the volume label of the tape to 
mount. Mounting the wrong tape was a BIG problem in large 
systems, so a number of vendors came up with these sorts of 
schemes to try to reduce those errors.


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