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Gateway workstation priced at $2,000

The company follows other PC makers and will offer low-cost workstations optimized for designers.

Gateway will join the growing legion of PC makers offering low-cost workstations.

Gateway's new offering--the $1,999 E-5200--is part of a trend generated by the success of Hewlett-Packard's low-end workstation offerings. Earlier this week, Dell Computer introduced its own sub-$2,000 entry-level workstation PC.

Cheap workstations have been gaining in popularity with companies, even though in some respects they are basically souped up PCs. Cheap workstations and performance PCs differ in that low-cost workstations have been more thoroughly tested to work with the software that companies intend to use on it. Some vendors also offer additional technical service for these systems, compared to standard PCs.

Like most vendors offering workstation PCs, Gateway is targeting users in the CAD (computer-aided design), software development, and digital content creation markets.

Gateway's E-5200 comes with a 350-MHz Intel Pentium II with 512K of secondary "cache" memory, 64MB of memory, a 10GB hard disk drive, a 17-inch monitor, and a graphics accelerator with 8MB of graphics memory. The base system is priced starting at $1,999 and comes with Windows NT 4.0.