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Compaq touts low-cost Internet PCs, notebooks

The computer maker announces a raft of new consumer PCs oriented around Internet use, including a new $599 PC and a cutting-edge notebook with a large display.

Compaq announced a raft of new consumer PCs oriented around Internet use, including a new $599 PC and a cutting-edge notebook with a large display, the second wave of such products.

Compaq Computer's consumer products group today announced new Presario desktop PCs--some with DSL modems--notebook PCs, liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors, and a new printer. The products come the week before PC Expo in New York.

Last year in November, Compaq made a similar announcement, releasing a broad range of Internet-centric consumer PCs.

New models include the Presario 5300, which is priced at $599 and includes a K6-2 processor from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and 4.3GB hard drive. Cheap is definitely in for major PC manufacturers. As reported yesterday, Dell Computer today announced an $899 PC for consumers.

At the high end, Compaq announced a 5700 model with a 550-MHz Pentium III chip, which comes with a high-speed DSL modem and a high-speed connection service. A model with a 17-inch display and 12GB hard drive sells for $2,499.

Compaq also rolled out the Presario 1800 notebook. This new design is slim at 1.6 inches and uses an extra-large 15-inch LCD screen. Although an oddity last year, the 15-inch screen for notebooks is becoming increasingly popular. Samsung among other Asian manufacturers is coming out with a 15-inch model while Dell has released an Inspiron notebook with one of these Texas-sized screens.

The notebook also uses a lightweight magnesium casing, which allows Compaq to build a relatively wide notebook to accommodate the screen while keeping the weight down.

The notebook also includes integrated networking and a connector to a TV for playing back movies and video directly on a TV screen. The Presario 1800 with a 15-inch active-matrix LCD, a high-end ATI Technologies graphics chip, and a 6.4GB hard drive is priced at $2,999.

Compaq is also offering a choice of three Internet access services with all of its new PCs, including Compaq.net, Compaq's own Internet service.

Dell Computer also chimed in with low-cost Internet-centric models today with a PC that can be had for $27 a month or bought outright for $899.

Compaq also debuted a IJ300 color printer for $119 and a new FP720 15-inch LCD monitor with a 45-degree stand. The FP720 monitor is priced at $1,149.