Fujitsu, HP, Toshiba debut new business notebooks

Business customers have a host of new notebooks from which to select this week as Fujitsu, HP (HP) and Toshiba have all released new systems in anticipation of an increase in corporate purchasing later this year.

PC industry vendors agree with analysts that corporate PC buying is much healthier than in recent years and that trend is expected to continue throughout the rest of the year. Older desktops that were purchased three and four years ago are starting to show their age, and corporations are starting to realize that it's time for an upgrade.

Notebooks have been the darling of the PC industry for more than a year, but recent data from IDC indicates that the phenomenal growth in notebook PCs might be losing steam.

While still healthy, notebook shipments are not expected to grow quite as sharply as last year as corporations selectively roll out notebooks only to workers requiring mobility. Desktops still provide more performance for the dollar than notebooks, which require a more sophisticated chassis design to handle the rigours of mobility.

With that in mind, vendors rolled out several price-sensitive notebooks this week in hopes of keeping the notebook train rolling. Toshiba's new Satellite A70 and A60 notebooks are available with Mobile Intel Pentium 4 processors or Celeron processors in order to keep costs down.

Intel's Pentium M chip is considered the chipmaker's premier product for thin-and-light notebooks. The newest version of that chip, the Dothan Pentium M, made its debut last month with improved performance, but the new chips are still more expensive than their Mobile Intel Pentium 4 or Celeron counterparts.

A base configuration of the A70-S256 comes with a Mobile Intel Pentium 4 532 processor at 3.06GHz, a 60GB hard drive, 512MB of memory, a 15.4-inch widescreen display, a Radeon Mobility 9000 graphics card from ATI Technologies with 64M bytes of shared video memory, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW (CD-rewritable) drive and an integrated 802.11g wireless chip for $US1499. This model weighs 3.6kg.

The least expensive A60 series model, the 3.5kg A60-S156, costs $US1099 with a 2.8GHz Celeron processor, a 40GB hard drive, 256MB of memory, a 15-inch display, a Mobility Radeon 7000 graphics card from ATI with 32MB of shared video memory, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive and an integrated 802.11g wireless chip. Both notebooks are available immediately through Toshiba's resellers or direct from the company's website.

HP's new Compaq Business Notebook nx9500 packs desktop performance into a mobile package. However, because of the large 17-inch display and the extra heat shields required by the unit's desktop processor, this notebook weighs almost 4.3kg.

A base configuration costs $US1799 with the 3GHz Pentium 4 processor, a 60GB hard drive, 512MB of memory, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive and an integrated 802.11g wireless chip. It's available immediately through HP's website or resellers.

Fujitsu's new LifeBook E8000 notebook uses the Pentium M processor in a lighter package than the Toshiba or HP notebooks. It weighs 3.2kg with its optical drive, or 2.97kg without the drive.

The LifeBook E8000 costs $US1569 with Intel's 1.6GHz Banias Pentium M processor, a 30GB hard drive, 256MBof memory, a 15-inch display, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive and an integrated 802.11g wireless chip, according to Fujitsu's website. It is available immediately through the website as well as through Fujitsu resellers.

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