Vendors build on 440LX chipset

PC vendors last week unveiled desktops and servers featuring Intel Corp.'s newly released chipset that gives the Pentium II processor a graphics and throughput boost.

The 440LX AGPset chipset features Intel's Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) a technology designed to optimize Pentium II systems for handling 3-D graphics and video. AGP transfers data between a PC's graphics accelerator and its main memory at a speed of 528 megabytes/sec overcoming the bandwidth limitations of PCI bus technology according to Intel. The chipset contains other features that improve storage throughput system performance and remote administration capabilities.

Vendors pursuing the federal market with systems employing the 440LX chipset include Dell Computer Corp. Gateway 2000 Inc. Micron Electronics Inc. and V-Squared a subsidiary of Decision Support Systems Inc. Most vendors are planning September availability for their products. Prices for entry-level systems start at about $3 000 while prices for dual-processor systems approach $4 000.

V-Squared Dulles Va. announced its Tiger PII LX300 a dual-processor PC featuring 300 MHz Pentium II chips and the 440LX. V-Squared is positioning the product as a large workgroup server and departmental server and in a workstation role as a platform for high-end multimedia computer-aided design modeling and simulation.

The 440LX chipset is "perfect for 3-D applications audio and video " said Shaf Mohebbi president of V-Squared. He said the chipset's AGP technology and support for Ultra DMA/33 will provide a significant throughput boost. Ultra DMA/33 provides a hard drive data access rate of 33 megabytes/sec compared with 16 megabytes/sec for an IDE hard drive.

A dual processor configuration has a retail price of $3 995. The product is available to federal buyers through PC Expanders Inc. Vienna Va. The company is looking to add the Tiger PII LX300 to the General Services Administration schedule Mohebbi said.

Sogand Behnan general manager of PC Expanders said as much as 20 percent of the company's customers are "looking for multiprocessor servers" equipped with faster chips such as the Pentium II.

Dell Micron Gateway Offerings

Dell meanwhile is working to add its LX440-equipped OptiPlex GXa minitower to the schedule according to a manager with Dell's GSA contracts group. An OptiPlex GXa minitower with a 266 MHz Pentium II chip 64M of RAM a 17-inch monitor a 4.3G hard drive a 24X CD-ROM drive Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 95 and three-year on-site service has a proposed GSA price of $2 996. A 300 MHz model is priced at $3 230.

Micron has introduced LX440 technology in its newly launched Millennia XKU PC. The company is seeking to add the product to its GSA schedule and expects approval in one to four weeks said Ronald Clevenger federal sales manager at Micron. A Millennia XKU with a 300 MHz Pentium II chip 512K of cache 128M of memory a 24X CD-ROM drive an 8.4G hard drive a 17-inch monitor a 100M Iomega Corp. Zip drive a 56 kilobits/sec U.S. Robotics modem Windows 95 Office 97 Small Business Edition and other features has a proposed GSA price of $3 837.

Clevenger said the combination of the Pentium II chip and LX440 chipset is geared toward applications such as imaging videoconferencing and high-end databases.

A spokesman for Gateway said his company will ship systems with the LX440 chipset adding that those products should be available on the GSA schedule this month.

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