Hughes, Zenith detail DTV wares

With the $1 billion Air Force Desktop V program about to open for business contractors Hughes Data Systems Inc. and Zenith Data Systems last week announced pricing and configurations for their major product offerings. Vendors expect their Desktop V lineups - which feature 133 MHz and 166 MHz desktop bundles - to fare well against other contracts and the General Services Administration Schedule B/C. Desktop V "is going to compete very well " said Tom Walters vice president and Desktop V program manager at Hughes. "These prices for what you are getting are going to be appealing." Both vendors plan to push bundled systems with performance upgrades to account for improvements in processing power since bids were submitted last September. ZDS starts out of the gate with the higher-performing system. Its standard desktop system is a 133 MHz Z-Station GT 500 but the vendor plans to propose a 166 MHz upgrade bundle. The 166 MHz upgrade - which ZDS offers for $289 - is the "logical" package for Air Force buyers because it features state-of-the-art technology at a good price said Pat Gallagher ZDS' sales vice president. "This is a good deal and a good machine. This is the package we think people will buy." Hughes starts with a 100 MHz Micron ClientPro but will promote its 133 MHz processor upgrade for its desktop offering. Hughes also takes a different approach with its advanced desktop. While ZDS offers the Z-Station 180 MHz Pentium Pro minitower - $3 962 for the recommended bundle - Hughes offers a 166 MHz system based upon the Alpha chip a reduced instruction-set computing (RISC) processor. The Hughes bundle costs $3 848. "The Alpha offers the buying community a different solution " Walters said. "The more people understand the growth path offered by that the more it will appeal." For its server system Hughes offers a Micron Pantera Server bundle with a 166 MHz Pentium processor upgrade to its base 100 MHz system for $4 795. ZDS' Offerings ZDS meanwhile offers the Z-Server MX which is based upon a 133 MHz Pentium processor and comes with 48M of RAM a 2G SCSI drive and SCSI CD-ROM for $4 698. However for an industrial-strength server users can upgrade the memory to 176M of RAM add five 4G SCSI hard drives a RAID controller tape backup backup power Windows NT Server Software and other features for $13 329. Neither Hughes nor ZDS would disclose the manufacturers of their notebook computers pending approval by the Air Force. But Walters said "whatever we do offer it will not be at a higher price than what we originally bid." The Air Force Standard Systems Center which administers the Desktop V contract anticipates opening it up for ordering July 15 which will give buyers only 10 weeks to place their orders. Vendors and users expect ordering to be extremely heavy through the end of the fiscal year.

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