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IBM plans major PC overhaul

IBM will release a radically redesigned consumer PC line, boasting a construction that splits the computer into two components, highlighting a massive, industrywide move to home machines with more consumer-friendly features.

IBM (IBM) will release in the coming weeks a radically redesigned home PC line, boasting a construction that splits the computer into two components and highlighting a massive, industrywide move to machines with more consumer-friendly features.

The dark gray IBM "Stealth" PC will come with a separate pizza-box-size unit that can sit beneath the monitor and houses the CD-ROM drive, the floppy drive, and the on-off switch. This puts all of the most-used peripheral devices in one easily accessible case, allowing the rest of the computer--the main CPU unit--to be stored elsewhere.

The new IBM models, under the product name of "s-Series," are tentatively priced between $2,649 and $3,400, according to one retailer. According to the retailer, models and specification details in the upcoming s-Series Aptivas include:

--the s64, which will sport a 166-MHz Pentium processor, 16MB of EDO RAM, an 8X CD-ROM drive, and a 2.5GB hard drive for $2,649.
--the s78, which will have a 200-MHz Pentium processor, 32MB of EDO RAM, a 3.2GB hard disk drive, as well as an 8X CD-ROM drive and will sell for $3,399.

Additionally, IBM is expected to boost its Internet-based support for its Aptiva line of consumer PCs. Consumers will be able to connect to an IBM Web site to upgrade software and software-upgradable hardware, sources said.

The Stealth will present stiff competition to Toshiba's just-announced Infinia consumer PC, which sports a push-button panel attached to the monitor for operating the computer's built-in TV, radio, and telephony features.

IBM has also begun shipping the high-end c77 Aptiva, which boasts a 200-MHz Pentium processor, large-capacity hard drives, 32MB of RAM, 2MB of video memory, an 8X CD-ROM drive, up to 512KB of cache memory, and "Q Sound" 3D surround sound. This is priced at $3,299.