The Packard Bell 550 is priced at less than half the cost of a comparable system a year ago, according to the Sacramento-based company. The minitower configuration comes with a 233-MHz Cyrix MediaGX processor, 24MB of memory, a 2.1GB hard drive, a CD-ROM, and a 56-kbps modem.
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Last week, Packard Bell revealed it would break with tradition and begin to incorporate Cyrix processors. Packard Bell has traditionally used only Intel chips, and the two companies' ties are in fact quite close. As an example, Intel loaned $500 million to Packard Bell earlier in the decade when the company found itself stuck with excess inventory.
At the time, analysts appraised the move as an effort to regain low-end market share recently claimed by Compaq, and said it could allow the company to introduce PCs for as little as $600.
Also today, Packard Bell introduced a $999 model with a 266-MHz 6X86MX chip, 48MB of memory, a 4.3GB hard drive, a CD-ROM, and a 56-kbps modem. Neither machine comes with a monitor.