Machine type: RISC-based distributed-memory multi-processor.
Operating system: NX/2 node OS (transparent to the user and Unix on the front-end system.
Connection structure: Hypercube.
Compilers: Fortran 77 and C with extensions.
The system is front-ended by the Systems Resource Manager, at least a 80386/387 based machine with 8 MB of memory. It communicates with one node via the direct connect scheme, a wormhole routing protocol that is employed between all nodes of the hypercube. The wormhole routing occurs independently from the computational elements in the nodes and makes communication latency virtually independent of the distance between nodes. There is a considerable mismatch between the computational speed of the nodes and the communication speed. The preceeding iPSC/2 had the same communication bandwidth but processors that were about 20 times slower.
The maximum dimension of the hypercube is 7. An eighth connection at every node can be used for the Concurrent I/O system. Physically, this I/O system is distributed over the nodes of the machine but it behaves like one logically Unix-compatible file system.
Through the Systems Resource Manager it is possible to allocate sub-cubes to different users, each of which are a single user on their sub-cube. The NX/2 OS allows a user to operate it as a multi-user system within his own sub-cube.