All-new Deskpro units start below £800

Talk of the $500 computer was replaced by the sub-£800 Deskpro when Compaq launched its new business systems in the UK yesterday.

Although the £795 price tag for the entry-level 100MHz Pentium-based Deskpro 2000 raised eyebrows, the price doesn't include a monitor. More notable was the fact that all Compaq's business PCs now sit under the long-running Deskpro brand even though the cheaper systems are aimed at small or medium-sized businesses. All systems feature Compaq's Intelligent Manageability suite of tools to make systems easier to manage on a network. The Pro Linea line has been killed off.

Other interesting features include the implementation of Compaq's LS-120 120Mb floppy drive in some members of the Deskpro 4000 line and the use of PD-CD (rewiteable magento-optical/quad-speed CD-ROM hybrid) drives in some of the 6000 models.

The 2000 and 4000 are shipping now in the UK, followed by the 6000 in August.

IBM last Friday cut prices by up to 19 per cent on its PC 300 and PC 700 desktops. 100MHz Pentium systems start at £849. The systems support Wake-on-LAN technology for automating network management tasks.

PCDN COMMENT:

Just four years ago, on the back of crumbling market share, a sharp rise in the fortunes of direct vendors, and management upheaval including the ousting of founder Rod Canion in favour of current CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer, Compaq launched its clone-bashing Pro Linea. The consensus was that the release meant make or break for the PC vendor. The answer was very much 'make': the Pro Linea was nothing special but it gave resellers a reasonably competitive price to attack the likes of Elonex, Viglen and mail-order firms here. Since then, with IBM and Apple stumbling and numerous bankruptcies among the cloners, Compaq has established itself as the firm to beat. This is a solid line-up although the old Compaq stunt of not including the monitor in the basic spec is an unwelcome distraction and the LS-120 is not so clever a design as Iomega's Zip

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