Toshiba Unveils Thin, Quiet Equium

SAN FRANCISCO (08/28/2000) - Toshiba Corp. is targeting business users in search of a thin, quiet, easily upgradeable desktop with its announcement Monday of the new Equium 8000S.

The company is taking orders now and begins shipping units September 11. Each is built to order, but Toshiba offers several sample configurations.

For example, you can order a system with a 733-MHz Pentium III processor, 128MB of SDRAM, a 15GB hard drive, a 10X/24X CD-ROM drive, a network interface adapter, and Windows 95 or 98, but no monitor, for US$1181. A system equipped with the same hardware and software, except for a 600-MHz Celeron, sells for $1076. A system with a 566-MHz Celeron, 64MB of SDRAM memory, an 8GB hard drive, a 10X/24X CD-ROM drive, a network card, and Windows 95 or 98, is priced at $952.

You can upgrade any system to Windows NT or Windows 2000 for an extra $99.

Toshiba also offers a handful of matching monitors. A 15-inch TekBright 510V monitor runs about $169; a 17-inch TekBright 710V is about $249.

Design Is Key

Toshiba engineers implemented several new design elements in the 8000S, says Mona Pal, senior product manger of computer desktop systems. First up, Toshiba claims it has the smallest form factor of any available upgradeable desktop PC that retains legacy ports such as serial and parallel. With dimensions of just 13.8 inches wide, 14.4 inches deep, and 13.3 inches high, the 8000S is perfect for office cube dwellers interested in saving precious desktop space.

Small is nice, but it can make life tough when it comes to working on the inside of the machine, Pal says. Toshiba makes it easier to add memory, replace faulty components, or upgrade drives via the 8000S's "works-in-a-drawer" design. Click two buttons, and you can slide the chassis forward, exposing the drives, boards, and two free PCI slots. Included hardware brackets let you snap parts in and out without any tools.

Because of the unit's small size, Toshiba doesn't offer a graphics-card option, although the 8000S's Intel 815e-chip set can accommodate one. The system comes with integrated graphics; for another $20 you can add Intel's 4MB graphics performance accelerator card.

Keeping Cool

Another problem with very small cases is how to get rid of heat generated by hot parts, especially today's high-powered processors. Toshiba addresses this problem with "intelligent cooling" inside the 8000S, Pal says. Instead of having multiple fans, Toshiba engineers combine a heat sink, air duct, and low-speed fan to draw cool air over the processor and out the back of the case.

In addition to better cooling, the special process is extremely quiet, Pal says. Toshiba goes an extra step toward total quiet by resting the unit's hard drive on a pad of high-tech foam called EPAK that absorbs most of the hard drive noise. The result is PC rigged for near-silent running.

Toshiba is introducing the slim and trim 8000S first; it will offer a full-sized desktop version (8000D) and a minitower version (8000M) later this year. The larger form factors will allow Toshiba to offer graphics card options that don't fit in the 8000S chassis.

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