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IBM upgrades ThinkPad notebooks

Big Blue's long-awaited sequel to the ThinkPad 560 has arrived: the 366-MHz 570 ThinkPad.

Some resellers have begun offering IBM's long-awaited upgrade to its popular ThinkPad 560 line of notebooks.

The four-pound ThinkPad 570 includes ultraslim DVD, CD-ROM, or hard disk drives, which is a first for this line. The drives are plugged into a slim "Ultrabase," said a reseller which has begun advertising the new model.

IBM has not yet announced the model and, therefore, cannot comment on when it will ship, a spokesperson said.

But some resellers are already offering the model for just over $4,000 with a 13.3-inch LCD screen, 64MB of memory, and 6.4GB hard drive.

The 1-inch thick 570 offers the fastest Intel Pentium II mobile chips on the market running at 366 MHz. The older 560 line stopped at 300 MHz with the 560Z model.

One reseller said there has been a crush of backorders for the computer and doesn't expect availability until the middle of May.

The 570 is similar to the 560 in other respects as IBM doesn't want to "fix" an already-popular design. The 560 has been one of the most popular ultraslim computers ever.

IBM also sells the popular, slightly bulkier, 1.4-inch thick 600 and 600E series of ThinkPads which integrate a DVD or CD ROM drive into the main body of the computer.