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Monorail ships sealed Pentium

Atlanta upstart Monorail updates its line of economical, easy-to-operate home PCs with a 133-MHz Pentium processor.

    Monorail, a start-up company based in Atlanta, announced today that it will update its line of economical home PCs with a new model featuring a 133-MHz Pentium processor.

    While a 133-MHz processor alone is not extraordinary news these days, Monorail is shipping what amounts to a sealed-case PC--a full-featured computer that is simpler to set up and maintain than current PCs. Monorail's new computer includes a 2.1GB hard disk, 16MB of RAM (expandable to 80MB), 33.6-kbps fax-modem, Windows 95, and a 4X CD-ROM drive.

    The components are incorporated into a case that also houses a 10.4-inch dual-scan LCD screen that has 1MB of video memory. Total footprint of the computer is 20 percent smaller than traditional designs, according to the company.

    The footprint that the Monorail Model 133 will leave on wallets is also smaller than many other home PCs. The company says the new model will be available later this week at CompUSA stores for $1,299. Customers who have already bought the original Monorail can have their computer upgraded at the factory; FedEx will pick the computer up and return it (with the upgraded processor) within four days, according to Monorail.

    Except for the smallish screen, the price and features compare favorably to several sub-$2,000 machines reviewed recently by CNET.

    Cheap home PCs compared
    Model Price Processor
    Monorail Model 133 $1,299 133-MHz Pentium
    Packard Bell
    Platinum 40
    $1,699 133-MHz Pentium
    Acer Aspire Personal Solution 1642 $1,998 IBM 6x86 P150+
    Compaq Presario 4402 $1,999 133-MHz Pentium
    Micron Home MPC P133 $1,899 133-MHz Pentium
    Source: CNET reviews

    Microsoft and Intel have promoted a "sealed case" PC design where users wouldn't need to insert add-on boards or devices such as modems. Instead, users could add new functions by attaching more devices to external hookups or "device bay" openings in the PC.

    Designers hope the sealed case will mean consumers more comfortable with electronic appliances such as stereos and VCRs will enter the market for PCs.