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Monorail expands minitower PCs

The company is expanding its line of minitower PCs as the first incarnation of its innovative all-in-one integrated system is phased out.

    Monorail is expanding its line of minitower PCs as the first incarnation of its innovative all-in-one integrated system is phased out.

    Monorail garnered industry attention in 1996 when it released a low-cost system that was 20 percent smaller than typical desktop PCs. Monorail integrated the display directly into the PC unit, with no standalone tower. The system was priced at $999, one of the first sub-$1,000 PCs to hit the market.

    Two years later, it has reached the end of its product cycle and will likely be phased out within the next two to three months, according to Monorail's vice president of marketing, Andrew Watson.

    "It was pretty much at the end of the road, as far as enhancements," Watson said. "It doesn't support Pentium IIs, it's at the maximum display size, the design is two years old. You won't even be able to get Pentium processors in another year."

    Monorail hasn't set a timeline for introducing a replacement, Watson said, but the company is not abandoning the concept of an integrated unit. "If given the choice between buying it [the integrated system], or buying a comparably featured desktop, customers go with the all-in-one," he said. "But this doesn't support the latest technology anymore, and it's a bigger tradeoff."

    For the time being, the company is focusing on its line of minitower PCs instead. On Monday, the company will introduce the Monorail 6000, a sub-$1,000 PC with a 233-MHz K6 MMX processor from Advance Micro Devices. The Monorail 6000 offers a 4GB hard drive, 24X CD-ROM drive, and 56-kbps modem for $999.

    The Monorail 8000 Series will also be launched Monday. The 8000 features a 266-MHz Pentium II, 4GB hard drive, 24X CD-ROM, and 56-kbps modem for an estimated retail price of $1,299.

    The Monorail 8200 will feature a 300-MHz Pentium II with a 6GB hard drive, 24X CD-ROM drive, and 56-kbps modem, for $1,499.