Army pacts offer low-end bargains
- By Pamela Houghtaling
- Aug 25, 1996
With the year-end buying season in full swing there's good news for shoppers seeking low-end PCs and notebooks.
Vendors have upgraded their entry-level models and in some cases are offering them at the same or lower prices.
Recent industry price reductions on processors and memory are showing up on some indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contracts such as the Army's PC-1 and Portable-1.
These governmentwide acquisition contracts can be used as purchasing vehicles for civilian and Defense agencies with the exception of the Air Force and the Navy.
On PC-1 for example contractor Electronic Data Systems Corp. recently upgraded its low-end Pentium offering from a 75 MHz machine to a 100 MHz model from Micronics Inc. that features 16M of RAM and a 1.2G hard drive.
The price of that system has just been reduced to $1 795 according to Gene Garlick PC-1 program manager with EDS' military systems organization. EDS has also announced an increase in memory from 16M to 32M for its Micronics P133 system. That system remains priced at $2 349.
Sysorex which holds the dual-award PC-1 pact with EDS offers a 100 MHz Pentium priced at $1 799. But Bob Guerra Sysorex's executive vice president referred to an IBM Corp. 133 MHz system with 32M of RAM priced at $2 199 as the gangbuster buy on the contract.
Both PC-1 contractors also offer 486 desktops. EDS offers a Micronics 486DX2 with 8M of RAM and a 635M hard drive for $1 253. Sysorex offers a similar model for $1 201.
But there is very little demand for the 486 PCs according to product managers for the PC-1 contract with the Army Small Computer Program in Fort Monmouth N.J. Potential customers may be small offices that need to buy as many PCs as they can afford.
Government customers can buy Pentium and 486 notebook computers from the Portable-1 contract. Government Technology Services Inc. and International Data Products Corp. are prime contractors on that dual-award pact.
IDP recently upgraded its baseline Pentium system to the 133 MHz model from a 75 MHz machine essentially leaping over the 100 MHz level IDP president George Fuster said.
The 133 MHz notebook is priced at $2 047 - the same price as the model it has replaced. The IDP Notebook Series 530XD comes with 8M of RAM a 810M hard drive a 10.4-inch screen and either Microsoft Corp. Windows for Workgroups or Windows 95.
Last month GTSI added Compaq Computer Corp.'s new Armada 4110 notebook to Portable-1 for $1 850. The 100 MHz Pentium system includes 8M of RAM a 810M hard disk drive an 11.3-inch screen and either Windows 95 or Windows for Workgroups.
IDP meanwhile has reduced prices on its 486 notebooks. It offers its Notebook II Series 400 System which runs on a 486DX4 100 MHz processor for $1 575.
This notebook includes 8M of RAM a 540M removable hard drive a 10.3-inch color screen and Windows for Workgroups. GTSI reports that all the 486 notebooks on its contract have been sold.
Houghtaling is a free-lance writer based in Falls Church Va.