IBM to ship powerful notebook line

IBM is preparing to launch a new line of notebook computers that will be positioned as portable workstations with enough processing muscle to run high-end applications used by engineers and developers, according to information on IBM's Web site.

The ThinkPad A series will be offered with Intel's new Pentium 4 mobile processor at up to 1.7GHz and 256M bytes of DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic RAM). Users will also be able to choose from various graphics cards including ATI Technologies Inc.'s high-end Mobility Fire GL 7800 3D, and a hard drive with up to 60G bytes of storage.

Engineers have long relied on workstations -- typically powerful desktop machines -- to run compute-intensive applications for designing machinery, doing scientific research and other tasks. IBM asserts that combining Intel's Pentium 4 mobile processor with powerful graphics processing provides a machine capable of running some of these applications.

Users will be able to choose between the Bluetooth or 802.11b wireless technologies for the ThinkPad A Series. This should allow users to access business applications and work on projects while on the road, IBM said on its Web site. Also offered is a 15-inch UXGA FlexView display which offers increased brightness and contrast levels.

A high-end configuration with the 1.7GHz Pentium 4 chip and a 60G-byte hard drive will be priced at US$3,699. A lower-end model with the same chip starts at $3,349, according to the Web site. The site didn't say when the product will ship and IBM couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

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