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NEC to launch new Pentium notebooks

NEC Technologies will introduce a line of powerful Pentium notebook PCs in mid-May that will easily match desktops in both features and performance.

NEC Technologies will introduce a line of powerful Pentium notebook PCs in mid-May that will easily match desktops in both features and performance.

Models in the new Versa line will feature 100- and 133-MHz Intel Mobile Pentium processors, Intel's new 82430MX PCI chipset for notebook PCs, and large, high-resolution screens, said sources familiar with the new line.

The systems will also boast a number of firsts for NEC notebooks, including:
--11.3-inch and 12.1-inch, 800-by-600-pixel and 1024-by-768-pixel LCD screens
--MPEG video support
--integrated 6X CD-ROM drives
--up to 3GB of hard disk drive capacity
--a PCI bus design that lets users "hot dock," or simply plug in expansion devices such as docking stations without having to reboot the computer

Pricing information is not available, but 133-MHz notebooks already on the market range from $4,000 to $6,000.

NEC would not comment on its notebook plans.

Compaq Computer is also slated to release 133-MHz notebooks this month with 12.1-inch LCD screens.

After this launch, NEC is also considering a rollout later this year of super-thin, ultra-light notebooks, but the company is waiting to see how its competitors do in this new market before it jumps in, sources said. "[NEC] first wants to see how the others do in this market," said a source familiar with the company's plans.

IBM and Compaq are expected to deliver ultra-thin notebooks later this year. These Pentium notebooks will be thin as well but--unlike conventional subnotebooks--a bit wider to accommodate large keyboards and 12-inch and 13-inch LCD screens.