IBM has launched two pared-down desktops, the first of its NetVista brand. Both are aimed at small businesses and consumers, and are part of IBM's overall initiative to make PCs easier to use and more Internet-friendly.
An all-in-one NetVista X40 features a 533MHz Intel Celeron processor, a 15 inch flat-panel display, a 10GB hard disk, and 64MB of memory. The similar NetVista X450i model, priced at $US2499, ships with a Pentium III-667, a 15 inch flat-panel display, 128MB of SDRAM, a 20GB hard disk, and floppy and 24x CD-ROM drives.
Its S40 model starts will ship with a Celeron-566, 64MB of memory, and a 10GB hard drive. The S40 desktops are what are called "legacy free" because a floppy drive and the parallel and PS/2 ports have been replaced with five Universal Serial Bus ports. Those systems will be available in mid-June.
The NetVista line will not be sold through retail stores but will be available only at IBM's Web site. Also, all units come with Windows 2000 Professional except the NetVista X40, which comes with Windows 98.
The S40 models come with an optional Portable Drive Bay 2000 add-on that snaps to the side of the PC's main tower. The Portable Drive Bay 2000 allows you to expand the system to include "UltraBay 2000 Devices" like floppy and CD-ROM swappable notebook drives that also work with IBM's latest ThinkPad notebook computers.
The high-end S40p unit comes with a 866MHz Intel Pentium III CPU, 128MB of SDRAM, a 20GB hard disk, and an embedded security chip that supports 256-bit encryption.
The NetVista desktops are the first IBM models that are part of its "Project EON" (Edge of the Network) strategy. Models in this line are positioned as a means of gaining access to the Internet rather than as stand-alone work or entertainment tools, according to IBM representatives.