First published 28 February, 1997
The cheapest system (the 'E' Series) is based on IBM's own 6x86 processor with a 14-inch monitor, 16Mb of RAM, 1.7Gb hard disk, eight-speed CD-ROM drive and sound card costs £1,099. IBM clearly has high hopes for what it believes is the first, full-function PC from a brand manufacturer at this price: retailers have to order systems by the lorry-load, that is 192 systems.
The 'L' Series uses Intel processors from 133MHz to MMX-enabled 200MMX Pentiums and comes with a much larger bundle of software and range of hardware upgrades. It also features a cunning wake/sleep mode whereby the machine will answer telephone and fax calls even when switched off.
For connoiseurs with deep pockets, there's the 'S' series. In development for three years, this sleek black system was code-named the Stealth PC, and while it doesn't do away with bulky system units, it does have a six-feet cable between the base station and the mini-tower system unit that allows you to keep the latter in a cupboard under the stairs. The floppy disk drive and 16-speed CD-ROM drive pop-up - VHS cassette-style - from the base station and the system comes as standard with a 17-inch monitor with built-in speakers. The top of the range model is based on a 200MHz MMX Pentium PC with 32Mb of RAM, a 4.2Gb hard disk, 33.6kbps DSVD modem and surround-sound, and comes with a bundle of recent games and multimedia titles. It costs £2,849 inc VAT.
None of the new Aptivas ship with IBM's own OS/2 Warp operating system which, according to the company, has not even been tested on the range.