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Remanufactured PCs drop to $299

Recompute, a major provider of rebuilt Pentium PCs, announces a price drop on corporate systems to as low as $299.

Recompute has dropped prices on remanufactured personal computers, another twist on the low-cost PC phenomenon that allows businesses to purchase Pentium boxes for as low as $299.

Recompute, a major provider of remanufactured Intel 486 and Pentium PCs, announced a price drop today on Pentium-based corporate systems to as low as $299. Previously, systems from Recompute in this price range were based on the older Intel 486 architecture.

Remanufactured PCs are becoming viable purchase options at corporations where, in many instances, only low-end computational power is needed, according to the company. A Recompute PC, for instance, can be used as a network computer (NC) or "dumb" terminal, where only a modicum of processing power is necessary.

Recompute typically uses top-tier brands and its remanufacturing process includes adding new components when necessary as well as extensive testing, the company said. Remanufactured systems are being used in customer service, finance, sales, manufacturing, reservations, and point-of-sales applications, according to the company.

A remanufactured Compaq Prolinia Deskpro 5090 with a 90-MHz Intel Pentium processor, 720MB hard disk, and 16MB of memory costs $299. The price includes a keyboard and mouse, and customers also get a one-year warranty and technical support.

Other options such as Windows 95, additional memory, monitors, and next-day-on-site service are available.

For a slightly higher price of $379, Recompute is offering a Dell Optiplex with a 133-MHz Intel Pentium processor, a 1.2GB hard disk, and 16MB of memory. The price also includes a keyboard and mouse.

Recompute does face competition from new, inexpensive low-cost computers, however. For example, Acer offers a new 200-MHz Pentium business system for $697 at resellers such as Computer Discount Warehouse.

While consumers constitute Recompute?s primary market, low-priced machines are also being pitched as a point-of-sale devices that can compete with NCs or dumb terminals. "We decided to create a compelling enough reason why no one should ever purchase a network computer," said Brian Kushner, chief executive officer of Austin, Texas-based Recompute in a previous interview with CNET's NEWS.COM.

Recompute is one of a number of refurbished computer specialists. The company purchases used computers from large corporations, tests and refreshes them, and then sells the machines to consumers or businesses at a discount.

The company?s business model is based around the fact that the acceleration of the technology upgrade cycle has created a growing supply of used, but still very functional, computers.

Among Recompute?s offerings are computers that were only released for the first time six months earlier. Rather than have these go to a landfill, Recompute, among other refurbishers, creates a second life for these machines.