IBM and HP unveil PC ranges

Hewlett-Packard and IBM are unveiling a slew of new desktops this week at the TechXNY conference in New York.

Hewlett-Packard and IBM are unveiling a slew of new desktops this week at the TechXNY conference in New York.

IBM is adding a range of lower-priced PCs to its ThinkCentre desktop line, while HP's five new Compaq Presario desktops claim to cover a wide range of computing needs from low-end "value" systems to feature-packed multimedia PCs.

The IBM ThinkCentre S50, M50, A50p and A30 come in new configurations and will be reduced in price. Prices for the A30 will start at $399, down from $449.

This price range puts IBM in line with recent moves from HP, Gateway and Dell to reduce PC prices. Dell and HP offer PCs for $349, after $50 mail-in rebates. Gateway recently introduced a $399 desktop.

Analysts pegged the average price for a desktop system at around $750, and IBM also addressed the needs of customers who want a little more power with refreshed S50, M50, and A30p models.

The new PCs will be available today through IBM's website in numerous configurations at prices ranging from $589 to $799 with Intel's latest processors.

The ThinkCentre PCs come with IBM's Rapid Restore Ultra technology, which allows a user to recover data after an operating system crash at the press of a button. Additionally, the S50, M50, and A30p all come with an Access IBM button that automatically connects over the internet to an IBM repository of system information.

HP's new Compaq Presario S5000 series also comes in a variety of configurations. The S5400NX has a 2.6GHz Pentium 4 processor with an 800MHz front-side bus and hyperthreading, 512Mbytes of DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM), a 120Gbyte hard drive, and a DVD+RW and CD-ROM drive.

The S5400NX will be available in November, and HP will not release pricing information until then.

On the low end, the S5000 starts at around $459 with a 2.5GHz Celeron processor, 128Mbytes of DDR SDRAM, a 40Gbyte hard drive and a CD-RW drive. It will be available on 28 September.

Three other midrange models, the S5100, S5200, and S5300 will also be available over the next few weeks at prices ranging from around $559 to $779.

The latest desktops will come with HP's Image Zone software, designed to help users download photos from their digital cameras and perform basic image editing tasks. The software will be preloaded on other HP PCs this autumn.

HP also announced a new scanner, LCD flat-panel monitor, and an all-in-one printer/scanner/copier at the show yesteray.

Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service

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