Compaq to launch new Deskpros worldwide

Compaq Computer Corp. may have its eyes on the enterprise, but that doesn't mean it's ignoring desktop clients.

At a New York press conference on Thursday, Compaq is expected to announce Deskpro 2000 and 4000 PCs with enhanced management and power. The systems will be the first to be sold under Compaq's channel configuration program; as such, corporate buyers should notice that the systems are priced in line with those from Dell Computer Corp.

In September, Houston-based Compaq will follow up with the Deskpro 4000s, which will be similar in form and function to the Deskpro 4000n NetPC, according to sources familiar with Compaq's plans. Also in September, Compaq will release Deskpro 6000 PCs with Intel Corp.'s 440LX chip set, sources said.

But this week, the focus is on the Deskpro 2000 and 4000. The entry-level 2000 will feature Pentium Processors with MMX Technology, 64-bit PCI graphics with support for up to 4MB of video RAM, 16MB or 32MB of SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM), and a 2GB or 3GB hard drive, sources said.

The 2000 will be outfitted with Pentium II processors in September, a result of Intel's planned price cuts on that chip in that time frame, the sources said.

The midrange 4000 line will offer most of the features of the 2000 but will also include an integrated, auto-sensing 10/100M-bps Ethernet controller; UltraDMA hard drives; and a universal driver manager, sources said.

The auto-sensing Ethernet controller can be remotely powered on for system updates and diagnostics. The controller, made by Intel, uses IBM's Wake-On-LAN technology, which establishes the network connection with an unattended PC. The universal driver manager is software that helps administrators manage graphics drivers, including different versions and updates, sources said.

The forthcoming Deskpro 4000s will feature a small chassis similar to the 4000n NetPC but will have a user-accessible shared PCI/ISA slot and a floppy drive, sources said. Although exact pricing is not set, the 4000s is expected to be priced between the low-end 4000n and the standard 4000, they said. It is intended to serve corporate customers who want a slimmer system but don't want to be limited by the NetPC's bare-bones approach, the sources added.

Compaq's forthcoming Deskpro 6000 will be one of several from different vendors to incorporate Intel's much-awaited 440LX chip set, sources said.

The chip set includes support for error-correcting-code RAM, AGP (accelerated graphics port), SDRAM, ACPI (Advanced Configuration Power Interface) and the UltraDMA 33MHz hard drive protocol.

Most major PC makers plan to release systems with the chip set and supporting components, such as AGP-enabled graphics processors and controllers, UltraDMA hard drives, and networking components that support ACPI for remote power-on.