Micron Launches Tiny ClientPro

SAN FRANCISCO (03/06/2000) - Micron Electronics Inc. jumps on the small-is-beautiful corporate desktop bandwagon with its announcement Monday of the MicronPC.com-branded ClientPro Cf.

The system begins shipping next week and comes in a sleek little box that sits horizontally or vertically on the desktop. In addition to looks, it offers another attractive quality: price. The basic Cf configuration sells for $999 and includes a 433-MHz Intel Celeron processor, 64MB of memory, a 4.3GB hard drive, an integrated 3Com 10/100 network interface card, a 24X-40X CD-ROM drive, a 3.5-inch floppy drive, a 15-inch display, and Windows NT. The unit sells for $849 without the display.

At launch, all Cf units will ship with either Windows NT or Windows 98 Second Edition, says Rob Meissner, director of product marketing. The company will offer Windows 2000 after several more weeks of testing.

As the base configurations attest, the Cf isn't exactly geared towards high performance, he says. It's more about stability and reliability, priorities for corporate and government customers.

Of course, Micron builds systems to order, and you can beef up the CF beyond its base configuration. However, the company is limiting the configuration options to keep down prices and limit shipping time to two or three days, Meissner says.

The handful of standard options includes a choice of processors: Celeron-433, PIII-550, or PIII-650. Micron offers a choice of hard drives: 4.3GB, 8.4GB, or 13.7GB; and memory ranging from 64MB to 512MB.

If you want to stray beyond those options to a faster processor or larger hard drive, Micron charges a fee, Meissner says.

Fancy Form Factor

The unit's tiny dimensions (3.75 inches tall by 13 inches deep by 16 inches wide) and light weight (15 lbs.) are designed to fit in cramped corporate workspaces.

The unit's small size also makes it easy to justify the lack of internal slots, which in turn limits the capability to poke around inside and cause headaches for technical support, he says. The only way to expand the system is through its four USB ports (two in front, two in back).

The unit also contains legacy ports, including serial and parallel ports.

Company executives discussed going legacy-free with the Cf, similar to comparable products from other vendors, but decided against it.

The company likely won't go legacy-free in the ClientPro line for several more years because "our customers haven't demanded it," Meissner says.

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