HP pumps up the e-pc

Hewlett-Packard Co. is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its e-pc legacy-reduced, small-form-factor PC by releasing a power-packed Pentium III 1GHz model.

HP launched the e-pc, then called the e-Vectra, last year to bridge the gap between traditional, general-purpose PCs and simplified, specific-purpose devices. The small form factor is one-fourth the size of a traditional PC and weighs in at just under 8 pounds.

The e-pc is perfect for users who need a PC for basic functions such as office applications and Internet access. The system, which costs $1,289, consists of only three components: chassis, hard drive and power supply. A monitor must be purchased separately.

The simple design reduces downtime and is also more flexible than a traditional desktop because the major components can be swapped out easily.

The processing power isn't the only new feature, however. Our e-pc c10 model arrived as part of HP's e-pc Integration Kit, a nifty, space-saving setup that enables you to combine the e-pc with HP's new 15-inch LCD flat-panel monitor.

The kit includes a special stand that snaps onto the back of the monitor pedestal. The e-pc then sits directly behind the flat panel, horizontally oriented for maximum space-saving. The entire setup requires less space than a 17-inch CRT monitor — and looks stylish as well.

The e-pc Integration Kit is easy to set up with the help of color photographs and color-coded cables. The components snap easily into place, and the kit also includes a footstand for stand-alone setup of the e-pc.

A lockable port cover, which HP calls a port control system, restricts access to cables and ports and looks nice as well.

Software extras include HP TopTools for Desktops, HP e-DiagTools, and HP Info, a set of links to online help and information. Customers can order the e-pc pre-loaded with Microsoft Corp. Windows 98 or Windows 2000 Service Pack 1. The e-pc also supports Windows NT 4.0, which is included on the recovery disk.

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