June 8, 1998 4:50 PM PDT

Compaq, Dell ship new computers

Compaq introduced a new line of powerful yet inexpensive workstations and reduced prices on existing workstations by up to 28 percent.

Meanwhile, Dell is refining its strategy for corporate desktop PCs with the introduction of the two new lines in the OptiPlex family.

Compaq unveiled the AP400, which is Compaq's first workstation to use Intel's new 350- and 400-MHz Pentium II processors and "bus" technology that allows the processor to communicate with other components at high speed.

These workstations are targeted for use in "mainstream" applications such as CAD (computer-aided design) or Web content creation. The workstations can use as many as two Pentium II processors and implement a new bus which operates at 100 MHz, compared to an older 66 MHz bus now standard on most PCs.

New Dell and Compaq systems
System Processor Drive Price
Dell OptiPlex E1 300-MHz
Celeron
2.1GB* $1,326
Dell OptiPlex G1 350-MHz
Pentium II
3.2GB** $1,963
Dell OptiPlex G1 350-MHz
Pentium II
4.3GB** $2,750
Compaq AP400 350-MHz
Pentium II
6.0GB $2,600
* comes with 15-inch monitor
** comes with 17-inch monitor

"This is the first product in a new value-based line" that will complement its existing workstation lineup, said a Compaq spokesperson. While the company's other Pentium II-based workstations have slower processors, other technologies and components are used to increase overall performance, the company said.

Compaq said it cut prices on the existing line of Professional Workstation 5100 workstations up to 28 percent and the model 6000 workstations received price cuts up to 20 percent. Upgrades for dual processor systems also received price cuts up to 27 percent and are available starting at $795.

The most recent round of price cuts comes as the company continues to try and reduce the bloated inventory levels that severely hurt first quarter 1998 earnings. Analysts said that Compaq's inventory woes were compounded by the slow implementation of a "build-to-order" initiative that was announced in mid-1997, along with a slower than expected growth rate in overall PC sales.

To date, Dell has been less affected by the inventory woes affecting the rest of the industry, but still has seen its average selling prices drop by 10 percent in the most recently completed quarter.

The company is expanding its PC lineup today with desktop PCs for businesses that will now include the G1 and E1 lines. Dell said these PCs have system designs that change less frequently, thus making them easier for IS managers to maintain.

The E1 is the company's first Celeron-based product. Celeron is the Intel processor for "basic" computing that has received less than rave reviews for its basic levels of performance. Officials at Dell said that users of these systems will mostly use one application at a time for uses such as data entry. The company will briefly offer a 266-MHz Celeron-based system for $1,326, and by mid-July will offer a 300-MHz Celeron system for the same price.

Dell will offer the Pentium II processor in the G1 line, with a 300-MHz system and 17-inch monitor priced starting at $1,963. A system with the 350-MHz Pentium II and 100-MHz system bus is priced starting at $2,750.

 

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