Desktop PCs and notebooks meet in the middle

Desktop PCs and notebooks meet in the middle

By Susan M. Menke

GCN Staff







Toshiba's Tecra 8100 uses a Pentium III SpeedStep to conserve battery power when unplugged.


Desktop and notebook computers this month draw even closer together in size and function.

Compaq's 11-pound iPaq PC, priced from $499, is taking on notebooklike mobile interchangeability. The iPaq with Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional is available this week in advance of the operating system's official Feb. 17 release. Other leading PC makers also are releasing systems loaded with Win 2000 early.

Compaq preinstalls in the iPaq a software agent called eXpress from Altiris Inc. plus PC Transplant software, which together can remotely configure the iPaq hard drive and update software without losing the user's registry, network or printer settings.

New spring line

New Compaq Deskpro PCs and Armada notebooks, set for release this spring, will also come with eXpress preinstalled, company officials said.

The cost will be about $30 per seat.

A remote administrator could deploy, restore, back up or migrate any of the Compaq system images on the fly via preboot execution and the Wake-On-LAN environment.

Different workgroups can have custom configurations multicast by the administrator's eXpress console over a WAN.

Details about the iPaq appear on the Web at www.compaq.com/products/internetdevices/modelcomparison.html. Compaq officials said they will soon market an iPaq with a thin, 17-inch LCD for about $1,400.

Meanwhile, notebook makers are putting LCDs that are nearly that big into their new offerings with 600- and 650-MHz Intel SpeedStep battery-saving chips.

Notebook RAM and drive ca-pacities now surpass those of many PCs and servers.

Gateway's 8.6-pound Solo 9300 starts at $3,499 with a 15.7-inch LCD and a 600-MHz Mobile Pentium III SpeedStep processor. SpeedStep automatically steps down the operating voltage from 1.6 volts AC to 1.3 volts on battery power. Mobile users can keep the full voltage by clicking a screen icon.


The Solo notebook's drive goes as high as 18G, and a second, optional drive can dual-boot operating systems.

Toshiba America Information Systems Inc.'s 6.4-pound, $4,022 Tecra 8100 lowers not only its Pentium III SpeedStep voltage but also its display voltage, via a polysilicon LCD material the company developed.

Toshiba is dropping its docking base and selling an optional Ethernet dock or lower-cost port replicator.

Micron Electronics Inc. of Nampa, Idaho, can put a 14- or 15-inch LCD in the TransPort ZX magnesium-alloy case. The portable starts at $2,699.

At the server end, Micron is launching slimmed-down NetFrame Web servers. The 4400R starts at $3,699 with dual PCI slots and network interfaces. Its proprietary, hot-swap clustering backbone for up to 42 racked servers removes the need for RAID arrays or Win 2000 clustering software.

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