IBM will announce this week its first three desktop PCs featuring Intel's new Pentium 4 processor -- a high-end consumer-oriented PC and two desktop machines aimed at businesses.
The consumer PC is the NetVista A60i, which, if equipped with a specific graphics card, can record television programs on its hard drive. For the business segment, IBM is offering a revamped IntelliStation M Pro 6849, designed for multimedia developers, engineers and animators, along with the NetVista A60.
All three feature the Intel Pentium 4 chip running at clock speeds of 1.4GHz or 1.5GHz. This new chip from Intel has been designed to do a better job of handling advanced graphics, audio, streaming video, Internet-related tasks and imaging than the Pentium III, according to Intel.
The Pentium 4's microarchitecture, called NetBurst, is the first processor microarchitecture for desktop PCs developed by Intel since 1995. The Pentium 4's improvements include a higher-performance engine, a more advanced system bus and a better cache, Intel said.
The NetVista A60i is IBM's most sophisticated consumer desktop to date, said Bruce Rasa, product marketing manager for the IBM NetVista division.
"We're completing the NetVista product family with this PC," he said.
IBM will begin shipping the NetVista A60i in mid-December at a starting price of $2299. The model that features ATI Technologies' Radeon All-in-Wonder graphics card can record television programs with VCR-like quality and store them on its hard drive. Users will be able to play back recorded programs and pause live broadcasts that are being stored simultaneously on the hard disk.
The model that comes with nVidia's GeForce GTS 4X AGP graphics card can't record TV programs, Rasa said. Moreover, the NetVista A60i doesn't come with an IEEE 1394 port, but users interested in transferring home videos from their camcorders to the PC can add this support, Rasa said.
The NetVista A60i also features a DVD-ROM drive that lets users play DVDs for viewing on the PC's monitor or on an attached TV set screen. Users can choose either a 45GB or a 75GB hard drive. The PC comes with 128MB of RDRAM (Rambus dynamic random access memory), expandable to 1GB, and a CD-RW drive and 56Kbps modem. It ships with Microsoft's Windows Millennium Edition (ME) operating system, Lotus Development's SmartSuite Millennium Edition and other IBM software. Loudspeakers and Creative Labs' SoundBlaster Live audio card are also standard, while some models include a subwoofer.
The IntelliStation M Pro 6849 workstation can accommodate seven storage devices and six adapters, including five PCI slots. It is cooled by up to four fans and uses either a 30GB or a 36GB hard disk. It comes with Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, but buyers can choose to install Windows NT 4.0 instead. It's available now at a starting price of $2919.
Finally, the NetVista A60, like the IntelliSation M Pro, features seven slots and six bays. It also comes with 128MB of RDRAM (expandable to 1GB). Buyers can choose either a 15GB or a 45GB hard disk. It comes with a 56Kbps modem, a CD-ROM drive and Lotus productivity applications suite SmartSuite Millennium Edition. Buyers can choose between Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows NT operating systems, and between the nVidia GeForce GTS 4X AGP and TNT2 graphics cards. The A60 will be available in mid-December at a starting price of $2299.
Both NetVista PCs feature software tools for back-up and restoration of files and for transferring data.
IBM will also announce Tuesday its new IBM T84H 18-inch Flat Panel Monitor, which can process both analog and digital signals. It starts at $2699. A significantly cheaper monitor will also be launched Tuesday -- the IBM E94 CRT Monitor has an 18-inch viewable image area and its starting price is $369.