Midrange Pentium PCs are hot buy of summer
- By John Moore
- Sep 08, 1996
PC resellers and vendors believe they have found the sweet spot in the summer buying season: 133 MHz and 166 MHz Pentium machines.
Industry executives report that federal agencies consider mid- to high-range Pentiums to have the best price/performance edge. Pentium 133 MHz PCs have dipped below the $2 000 threshold on some contracts while 166 MHz PCs are selling in several places for less than $2 400.
In addition 200 MHz Pentiums are beginning to land on contracts but Pentium Pro desktops have yet to have widespread impact on indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contracts.
"Pentium 133s and 166s are the most dominant on the contracts " said Gary Newgaard manager of federal sales and marketing at Compaq Computer Corp. The company's PC products are carried on vehicles such as the FBI's Commercial-Grade Intelligent Workstations and the General Services Administration schedule.Integrators and resellers are positioning their contracts to meet the demand. Electronic Data Systems Corp. for example is adding its first-ever PC to its Air Force Unified Local-Area Network Architecture II contract. Within the next two weeks the company plans to add Everex 133 MHz and 166 MHz "network clients" that can be upgraded to 200 MHz said Gary Miller EDS' program manager on the ULANA II contract.
EDS' 133 MHz option is priced at $1 883 for a system with 16M of RAM a 64-bit graphics card a 1.6G hard drive 8X CD-ROM drive and a 15-inch monitor. A similarly equipped 166 MHz machine is priced at $2 215.
Meanwhile BTG Inc. has added 166 MHz and 200 MHz Pentium desktops from Zenith Data Systems to its New Technology for Office and Portable Systems contract with the Navy. The new products join 75 MHz and 133 MHz desktops already on the contract.
Steve Baldwin vice president of business development at BTG said he expects to see the most demand for the 133 166 and 200 MHz models. BTG's Zenith 166 MHz PC with 16M of RAM a 1.6G hard drive 8x CD ROM-drive and a 15-inch monitor sells for $2 230.
On the Air Force's Desktop V program Zenith and Hughes Data Systems are offering 100 MHz or 133 MHz desktops with 166 MHz upgrades. Tom Walters a Hughes vice president said customers can order the 166 MHz Pentium upgrade option for servers for their desktop PCs. The company is selling "substantial numbers" of Pentium 166s he said. Hughes' 166 upgrade with 32M of RAM a 1G hard drive and a 15-inch monitor sells for about $2 730.
Zenith has priced its 166 MHz option with 32M of Ram a 1.6G hard drive a 15-inch monitor and a 1M SGRAM video card at $2 742.
Elsewhere EDS is seeing "good demand" for the 133 MHz and 166 MHz desktops it carries on the Navy's PC LAN+ contract according to Peter Buck EDS' program manager on PC LAN+. EDS provides PCs from Micronics Computers Inc. on the contract. A 133 MHz model with 16M of RAM a 1.28G hard drive 6X CD-ROM drive a 15-inch monitor and Windows 95 sells for $2 215. A similarly configured 166 MHz machine is priced at $2 570.
On the Army's PC-1 buy Sysorex Information Systems Inc. which holds the contract along with EDS is projecting the most demand for 100 MHz PCs at the low end and 166 MHz machines at the high end. Sysorex supplies PCs from IBM Corp. on PC-1. Sysorex's 133 MHz offering with 32M of RAM a 1.2G hard drive and a 15-inch monitor sells for $2 199 while a 166 MHz Pentium with 32M of RAM a 1.6 hard drive 8X CD-ROM and a 15-inch monitor sells for $2 799.
On EDS's PC-1 contract the company is providing a 166 MHz Micronics machine with 32M of RAM a 1.6G hard drive 6X CD-ROM drive and a 17-inch monitor for $2 719. The company's 133 MHz systems start at $2 165.
Server demand strongDesktops are not the only story in the federal IT market. Servers also are drawing strong demand according to industry executives.
"That is our No. 1 buying trend " said Peter Farrell PRC Inc.'s vice president and general manager for the Navy's Supermini contract. "We see people focused and committing money at that end of the spectrum."
Specifically Farrell said he has seen considerable demand for Hewlett-Packard Co.'s RISC-based T520 and K-Class 400 servers which are being tapped for a variety of roles including running personnel systems.
PC servers are selling briskly as well and integrators are adding new models to their contracts. Telos Corp. is adding Dell Computer Corp. PowerEdge XL and WS servers to its Small Multiuser Computer II contract with the Army [FCW Sept. 2] and Electronic Data Systems Corp. has added Compaq Computer Corp. Proliant 300 1500 and 5000 servers to its Unified Local-Area Network Architecture contract with the Air Force.
- John Moore