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233-MHz Pentium spawns new PCs

Several major computer manufacturers announce new consumer models based on Intel's new 233-MHz Pentium processor with MMX.

Several major computer manufacturers today announced new consumer models based on Intel's new 233-MHz Pentium processor with MMX technology.

As reported Friday evening by CNET's NEWS.COM, the 233-MHz MMX Pentium processor comes as an incremental speed increase over the 200-MHz MMX Pentium already on the market. Intel is sowing some degree of confusion in the market since it already offers a 233-MHz Pentium II processor with MMX.

Moreover, almost simultaneously, the market is being flooded with announcements from Cyrix and Advanced Micro Devices. These chip vendors are also offering 233-MHz class processors which compete with both the Intel 233-MHz Pentium as well as the 233-MHz Pentium II.

But the processor of choice this week is the 233-MHz Pentium.

While most manufacturers simply upgraded their current consumer line, Sony's new arrivals proved the most compelling. Two new models in its VAIO computer line, the PCV-130 and PCV-150, are designed to take advantage of MMX technology and other features to provide more multimedia options for home users.

Sony calls the new systems "Creativity PCs," and has included features and software directed at digital imaging work. Both systems offer 24-bit color video, built-in Zip drives from Iomega, video capture, a TV tuner, 3D Sound Audio, and digital still and video editing software. The systems are also designed to connect to Sony's DSC-F1 Digital Still Camera and DPP-M55 color printer.

Software bundled with the systems includes Kai's Power Goo SE, Asymetrix Digital Video Producer, and several MMX-specific titles, such as MGI Photo Suite and Davidson & Associates' The Third Dimension.

The PCV-130 and PCV15 also have a built-in Sony Communications Center with videoconferencing, messaging, email, voice mail, and fax capabilities. They include a 33.6-kbps modem based on Lucent and Rockwell's K56flex standard.

The new Sony systems will be available in July with an estimated price of $2000-$2500.

NEC, Packard Bell, and Dell Computer also announced new consumer systems based on the 233-MHz Pentium with MMX.

NEC announced the NEC Ready 9725, the fastest model in its Ready line of home computers. The new system has an estimated street price of $2,399, and includes 32MB of RAM and a built-in Zip drive. The 9725 also includes a 56-kbps modem based on U.S. Robotics' x2 technology. Like the Sony offering, the NEC system includes accelerated graphics and Surround Sound. The Ready 9725 will be available immediately.

Packard Bell introduced the Platinum 2250X as its new home computer based on the 233-MHz Pentium with MMX. The Platinum 2250X will sell for approximately $2,299 and features Surround Sound, a Universal Serial Bus, MPEG-2 software for video viewing, and Intel ProShare-based video conferencing. The system also features Systemsoft's System Wizard automated problem resolution to aid users in correcting their own technical problems and allow remote diagnosis of problems by company support departments.

The Platinum 2250X will be available immediately at computer retailers.

Dell Computer introduced two new systems based on the new processor, the Dimension XPS M233s and the OptiPlex GXi233, available now for $2,399 and $2,423. The systems are targeted at home and business buyers, respectively. The OptiPlex is tailored specifically for network use, and comes with a 10/100 Ethernet adapter and remote technical management software.

Also introduced was a new low-end server from Advanced Logic Research. Based on the 233-MHz Pentium with MMX, the new system extends ALR's Revoluatoin MP II+ Series of single and dual Pentium processor-based workgroup server products. The new system will sell for $2,995 and can be bought immediately through ALR Primeline Direct, and through resellers.