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BMDP New System for Windows Version 1.0
Company: BMDP Statistical Software Inc., based in Los Angeles, can be reached at (310) 207-8800.
Price: $149 (price will be $395 starting October 1). Student version, and bundled pricing with DOS-based BMDP Classic, Release 7.0 also available.
Requires: Intel 80386 or compatible; 4MB of RAM; MS-DOS 3.1 or later; Windows 3.1 or later; 6MB of hard disk space minimum.
Pros: Hot linking between data and both numerical and graphical results; versatile case selection and transform functions; low price.
Cons: Inaccuracies caused by rounding; no capability to adjust precision of results; poor subfile handling; no transpose function; outdated spreadsheet import capabilities; awkward and limited correlation routines; narrow statistical range and graph customizing; no data reporting facilities.
Summary: BMDP New System provides basic data management and statistical analysis in an easy-to-use Windows package that's interactive in its approach but limited in graphical and data reporting capabilities.
When BMDP introduces a new product, everybody listens. That's because BMDP Statistical Software Inc. is one of the venerated names in statistics and statistical software. BMD (now called BMDP) was one of the first mainframe statistical packages and remains one of the most popular. BMDP Classic, Release 7.0, a DOS program, is a heavy-duty number-cruncher with near-mainframe capabilities.
BMDP's aptly named New System for Windows, Version 1.0 is BMDP'S first statistical software for Windows. Whereas BMDP and BMDP Classic are essentially batch-processing packages that work using the arcane and inflexible BMDP command language (although both now have menu shells that disguise this somewhat), the New System was designed to be purebred Windows from the outset. The result is a package that's versatile and easy to use.
BMDP New System 1.0, as BMDP admits, is a work in progress. It's the foundation for what will become an omnibus product that rivals mainframe BMDP and BMDP Classic in statistical breadth and depth. For now, it's a basic package whose statistical and graphical capabilities are limited but will nonetheless satisfy most users.
We evaluated BMDP New System for Windows according to our new task-based test plan, which we debuted with our review of SigmaStat for Windows 1.0 (June 13, page 75).
BMDP New System is a general-purpose Windows statistics program that combines basic data management functions such as case and variable selection, grouping, and transformation, with routine descriptive statistics and inferential techniques such as regression and analysis of variance (ANOVA). It lacks a sophisticated report facility, but it provides basic two-dimensional exploratory and summary graphs, and hot links among data and results.
BMDP New System is completely different from BMDP Classic. This is both good and bad. The New System dispenses with BMDP Classic's cryptic and picky command language and batch orientation in favor of an easy-to-use, true-blue Windows interface. But for the time being, the New System pales in depth and sophistication compared to BMDP Classic.
How does it fare compared to other Windows packages? It's generally on a par with Statgraphics for Windows (reviewed July 25, page 96). Compared with SigmaStat for Windows, it's less capable statistically and lacks a data reporting routine, but it's easier to use.
For now, the best argument favoring BMDP New System may be price. Its interim price of $149 is quite favorable …