Intel’s Springdale appears in new PCs

Several PC vendors Wednesday released systems based on new technology from Intel Corp., including new processors and a new chipset.

IBM Corp., Gateway Inc. and Dell Computer Corp. were among the vendors introducing PCs with the new technologies. Most of the PCs will use Intel’s Springdale chipset, now known as the 865G. The new chipset supports Pentium 4 processors with an 800MHz front-side bus, and systems with DDR400 (double data rate) memory.

As part of Wednesday’s announcement, Intel is also bringing its hyperthreading technology to slower processors in its Pentium 4 product line. Hyperthreading is a technique that convinces a system’s operating system that two processors are present on a single-processor system, causing it to send more instructions to that processor. Prior to Wednesday’s announcement, hyperthreading was only available on the 3.06GHz and 3GHz Pentium 4 chips, and Intel’s Xeon server chips.

IBM’s ThinkCentre S50 and M50 are designed for corporate customers considering enterprise-wide PC replacements or new deployments, said Dilip Bhatia, worldwide segment marketing manager for IBM. IBM will also release the A50p, a desktop designed for media applications, on Wednesday.

The new PCs were designed with IT managers in mind, Bhatia said. IBM will guarantee that drivers and other components will remain stable for at least a year, and the PCs will ship with ImageUltra, the company’s software for managing images on a network’s PCs. IBM will also include an improved version of its Rapid Restore feature in the new PCs, and customers can opt for an integrated security chip that can store important data away from the hard drive.

The S50 is a small desktop, measuring 12.2 inches wide by 14.1 inches deep by 3.3 inches high (31cm by 36.5cm by 8.4cm), when set up horizontally. It is made completely out of steel, and all components such as the hard drive or system board can be removed without tools, Bhatia said. A base configuration with a 2.0GHz Intel Celeron processor, 128MB of memory, a 40GB hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive costs US$729.

IBM’s M50 is available in three shapes: tower, desktop, or small desktop, Bhatia said. It comes with enhanced support for Linux distributions from Red Hat Inc. and SuSE Linux AG. A base configuration with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 processor, 256MB of memory, a 40GB hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive costs US$979.

The A50p is designed for smaller businesses interested in media applications, Bhatia said. A base configuration with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4, 128MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive costs US$699. Later this year, IBM will release a similar model called the A30 at a lower starting price of US$469, Bhatia said.

IBM will also release four new monitors Wednesday: two 17-inch flat-panel monitors and two cathode ray tube (CRT) displays. The L170 and L170p flat panels are immediately available for US$499 and US$539, respectively. The 17-inch C170 and 19-inch C190 CRT monitors will be available on June 6 for US$189 and US$249, respectively.

Dell Computer Corp. updated several desktops with the new Intel technology. The company released the Dimension 4600C, which is 60 per cent smaller than the 4600, which was also released Wednesday as an update to the Dimension 4550. A typical configuration of the Dimension 4600 priced at US$1,129 comes with a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 processor, 512MB of DDR SDRAM, a 60GB hard drive, a DVD-ROM drive, and a 17-inch CRT monitor.

A base configuration of the 4600C comes with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 processor, 256MB of DDR333 memory, a 30GB hard drive, a CD-ROM drive, and a 15-inch flat-panel monitor for US$999.

The Round Rock, Tex., company also released new OptiPlex desktops and a new workstation that support the new Intel technology. The OptiPlex desktops are designed for enterprise customers.

The OptiPlex GX270 comes with an 2.0GHz Intel Celeron processor, 128MB of DDR SDRAM, a 40GB hard drive, and integrated audio and graphics for US$599. A base configuration of the OptiPlex SX270 comes with a 2.0GHz Celeron processor, 128MB of RAM, a 20GB hard drive, and integrated audio and graphics for US$579. Customers can add any of the new Intel processors to the OptiPlex desktops.

For workstation customers, Dell released the Precision Workstation 360, which is based on a new chassis and Intel’s previously released 875P chipset. It comes with a 2.26GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor with a 533MHz front-side bus, 256MB of DDR SDRAM, a 40GB hard drive, and a Quadro NVS 280 graphics card from NVidia Corp for US$899.

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