Compaq shows Pentium II machines, Net PC wares

Compaq Computer Corp. today updated its Deskpro PC line with Pentium II-powered models which are headed toward the Air Force's Desktop V among other federal contracts.

Compaq introduced the Pentium II-equipped products in its Deskpro 2000 4000 and 6000 lines. The products feature 233 MHz 266 MHz and 300 MHz processors and support Intel Corp.'s 440LX chipset with Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) technology a high-bandwidth port for graphics data processing. Commercial pricing will start at less than $2 000 for the new machines according to Michael Takemura Compaq's product manager for North American desktop marketing.

Gary Newgaard director of federal sales and marketing at Compaq said the company is working with Hughes Data Systems to add the Pentium II products to Desktop V which already features Deskpro 2000s running Pentium with MMX and Pentium Pro chips.

Newgaard said he expected the Pentium II Deskpros to be added to the National Guard Bureau's Reserve Component Automation System as well. In addition the product will be added immediately to Compaq's Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement with NASA and will be available on the General Services Administration schedule within a few days.

Newgaard said the Pentium II will have an immediate impact on the company's federal business. "It's typical for the user community to move up technology change as rapidly as possible " he said.

Payton Smith a research analyst with IDC Government said it may be six months to a year before Pentium II machines become accepted as mainstream desktop processors in the federal sector. He added however that agency concerns regarding older PCs and Year 2000 compliance could accelerate the Pentium II's penetration. Compaq said its Pentium II machines are Year 2000-compliant.

Compaq's new Pentium II PCs come standard with 24X CD-ROM drives 16-bit audio capabilities and Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT. The machines also come equipped with Matrox graphics cards the Deskpro 2000 and 4000 ship with Matrox's 1064SG card while the Deskpro 6000 employs Matrox's Millennium II card which is designed for AGP. The Deskpro 4000 however comes with a slot on the system board to accommodate AGP technology Takemura said. The Deskpros all ship with Compaq's universal-driver manager technology which helps users to install the appropriate driver for their PCs' graphics cards.

Compaq also has announced its Deskpro 4000N and Deskpro 4000S thin-client products. The Deskpro 4000N meets the Net PC specification which was created by Intel Microsoft and various PC makers to promote PCs offering greater manageability and lower operating costs than conventional products. The 4000N ships with a 166 MHz 200 MHz and 233 MHz Pentium with MMX chip and comes with Windows NT 4.0 pre-installed. A 166 MHz model with 32M of RAM and a 1.6G hard drive has commercial pricing starting at $1 113 not including a monitor.

The product's manageability features include an integrated 10/100 mega-bits/sec Netelligent Interface Controller with remote wake-up technology. The product also features support for management software including Computer Associates International Inc.'s Unicenter Intel's LANDesk McAfee Inc.'s Zero Administration Client Microsoft's Systems Management Server and Novell Inc.'s ManageWise.

The 4000S features the same chassis processor technology and manageability features as the 4000N but it offers "more flexibility and upgradability " Takemura said. The product for example offers a floppy disk drive and supports an optional CD-ROM drive Net PCs lack removable-media devices. The product like the 4000N offers manageability features such as the 10/100 megabits/sec Netelligent Interface Controller.

A 166 MHz model with 16M of RAM and a 2.1G hard drive among other features has federal pricing starting at $1 075 for systems without monitors. The 4000N and 4000S will be available on the GSA schedule and other contracts.

Compaq's strategy is to "extend Net PC [management technology] across the entire spectrum of Deskpro clients " Takemura said. This already is the case for Compaq's new Pentium II Deskpro models. The 4000 and 6000 for example have the embedded Netelligent technology for remote wake-up.

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