As buying season nears end, it's a PC bargain bonanza

Desktop systems with 166-MHz Pentium MMX processors are in the clearance bin at just
more than $1,000 each, including a monitor. Fast 233-MHz Pentium II PCs start at less than
$2,000, in striking contrast with last fall's baseline $1,500 for a 133-MHz Pentium PC.


Government buyers can choose from agency-specific contracts as well as governmentwide
acquisitions such as the Air Force's Desktop V and the Veterans Affairs Department's
Procurement of Computer Hardware and Software contracts or the General Services
Administration schedule contracts.


An unusual convergence of forces within the PC industry fueled the heavy price
reductions.


As direct sellers Dell Computer Corp. and Gateway 2000 Inc. have gained federal market
share, competing manufacturers have lowered their prices aggressively.


In addition, Intel Corp. recently slashed the prices on its Pentium processors after
Compaq Computer Corp., Digital Equipment Corp. and IBM Corp. began building some systems
with the K6 clone chip from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif.


Intel also is holding a fire sale on relatively new Pentium MMX and Pentium Pro CPUs as
it promotes the Pentium II--or Pentium Pro MMX--as the chip of the future.


For agency buyers, fiscal 1997's fourth quarter marks the first time the maximum
ordering limit for GSA schedule purchases has been lifted for the entire quarter.


GSA is encouraging Multiple-Award Schedule vendors to list their latest products much
faster than indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity buys have done.


Here are examples of the bargains you can find on schedule and IDIQ contracts:


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