New Dell and MicronPC designs debut at Comdex

New Dell and MicronPC designs debut at Comdex

LAS VEGAS'The Comdex trade show opened here today with the world's newest handheld computer, the Axim X5 from Dell Computer Corp., which has bided its time until the market improved. The Axim X5 runs the Microsoft Pocket PC operating system and will compete with both Palm OS and HP Compaq iPaq handhelds.

'Until today, handheld users have either had to pay a premium for a full-featured system or live with some compromises,' said John Medica, vice president and general manager of Dell Client Products.

An Axim version priced at $299 can support more processor-taxing applications than a $199 entry-level unit. Both prices are after a $50 rebate, which Dell officials said they plan to continue indefinitely. Each version weighs 6.5 ounces and sports a 3.5-inch color display capable of 65,000 colors. The transflective displays work in either office lighting or bright sun.

The high-end Axim has a 400-MHz Intel XScale processor, 64M of synchronous dynamic RAM and 48M of Intel StrataFlash ROM. The entry-level Axim has a 300-MHz processor with 32M of RAM and 32M of ROM. Both have CompactFlash Type II and Secure Digital Card slots. The standard battery is designed to provide power for 10 hours of typical use. There are two slots on the synchronizing cradle to charge an extra battery along with the handheld.

The Axim has no integrated wireless capability, though it could be added through the expansion slots. Dell officials said that next year's Axim X7 might have integrated Bluetooth and IEEE 802.11b wireless connectivity. The bottom of the Axim X5 tapers for easy fit in the hand. Dell's stylus is flat and wide like a miniature oar.

Also at Comdex, MicronPC LLC of Nampa, Idaho, showed off new Millennia desktop PCs running Microsoft Windows XP and powered by competing Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. processors. The $2,000 Millennia 910i has an Athlon XP2800 processor, 512M of SDRAM, an 80G hard drive, a 64M nVidia nForce2 graphics card and a 15-inch LCD. The 3.06-GHz Pentium 4 counterpart, the Millennia 910a, has only 256M of RAM but a faster 533-MHz front-side bus.

The GCN Lab next month will test the two Millennia systems. The Athlon version uses hyperthreading technology pioneered by Intel Corp. to process sections of an application in two parallel threads instead of one linear process.

Each MicronPC chassis has six of the fast new Universal Serial Bus 2.0 ports. The Intel version has extra serial and PCI ports. Both systems have enough horsepower for high-end workstation applications such as computer-aided design.

About the Authors

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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