It was available in several configurations, the base setup being one cabinet with 16 Intel 80386 processors, each with a 80387 coprocessor on the same module. This configuration has no onboard storage, and the operating system and user programs were loaded from a frontend PC. This PC was typically an Intel 301 with a special interface card. The system allows for expansion up to 128 nodes, each with processor and coprocessor.
Also, the base modules could be upgraded to the SX (Scalar eXtension) version by adding another chip.
Another configuration allowed for each processor module to be paired with a VX (Vector eXtension) module. This has the downside that the number of available interface card slots is halved. Having multiple cabinets as part of the same iPSC/2 system is necessary to run the maximum number of nodes and allow them to connect to VX modules.
The iPSC/2 is a member of the hypercube class of parallel computers, which references the logical connection between the processors internally. For that reason, it can only be configured with 8, 16, 32, 64, or 128 nodes. These correspond to the corners of hypercubes of increasing dimension.