VA Linux unfurls desktop box

Trying to nudge smaller software developers towards creating applications for Linux and the Web, VA Linux Systems this week unveiled an $800 Intel-based desktop system that features a full range of multimedia capabilities.

The StartX SP2, which can be ordered equipped with either a Celeron or Pentium III chip, is preloaded with Red Hat's Linux 6.1; the system will come preloaded with Version 6.2 of the OS by the end of the month. Enhancements made by VA Linux to the open-source operating system include performance improvements to the kernel, recent security upgrades, and a range of bug fixes.

The new system also includes VA Linux service and support for the first year. Part of the warranty is a one-year, six-incident technical support plan along with one year of return-to-deport hardware repair services.

"We think this system is affordable enough for those Web developers and other Linux users who need a lot of horsepower," said Robert Patrick, director of product marketing for VA Linux Systems. "It should attract those developers using Linux as one of their key platforms."

Developers can incorporate a rewritable CD-ROM drive that gives them the ability to burn their own CDs with music or data, making data transfer or archiving easier, company officials said. The new unit also features an integrated LAN and Sound Blaster 128V cards, which makes available four full-sized PCI slots for other peripherals.

The StartX SP2 features Intel's 810e chip set along with a 133MHz front side bus, two Ultra ATA/66 hard drives, and 512MB of SDRAM (synchronous DRAM), which company officials claims offers better performance when running large files or multiple applications.

The system is designed to make it easier to service and upgrade with a tool-free opening and access to hard and floppy drives, CD-ROM, processors, and memory. Users can easily and quickly connect peripherals to the Linux PC using the color-coded connector panel.

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