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Gateway to introduce new desktops

The PC maker will refresh its desktop line this week with PCs featuring the latest chips from Intel, as the company continues to rebuild itself.

Gateway will refresh its desktop line this week with PCs featuring the latest chips from Intel, as the company continues to rebuild itself.

The Poway, Calif.-based company is coming out with new versions of the Profile 4, a PC with a built-in flat panel, and standard desktops for small and medium-size businesses.

The new computers are centered on the 865 and 875 families of chipsets from Intel, which launched in May and April. Code-named Springdale, the new chipsets speed up many of the data paths that connect the processor to the hard drive and memory, among other computer components. Faster connections ultimately lead to better performance.

The 865 and 875 chipsets also bring hyperthreading, a technology that allows the chip to do two things at once to a wider variety of computers.

The new Profile 4 systems with a typical configuration will cost about $1,599--higher than the price of the current Profile 4s, which range from $1,399 to $1,529. The new versions, however, come with faster processors and better chipsets. The new profile comes out June 12.

The Gateway E-Series 4100 and 6100, meanwhile, start at $999 and $1,199. The 6100 uses the 875 chipset, which is slightly faster than the 865 chipset found in the 4100. The Gateway Sb series, for small business, starts at $599 without monitor.

One of the fastest-growing PC companies just a few years ago, Gateway has struggled to reinvent itself after a disastrous slide in sales that began in 2000. The company is now trying to position itself as the technological ombudsman for the American home. Gateway is selling consumer electronics items such as plasma TVs with its PCs and is offering premier support services and simplified configurations to take the irritation out of electronics shopping.

A pink notebook to coincide with the film "Legally Blonde 2" is on the way, and a new line of low-cost PCs is coming in the third quarter. Still, financial losses and layoffs remain a regular occurrence.

The PC market has begun to experience discernible--albeit slight--growth in 2003. Last week, chipmaker Intel said that PC chip sales were toward the high range for the seasonal norm.

Research firm Gartner predicted that in the second quarter, PC shipments would increase by 6.4 percent, although the firm bumped down its prediction for the year as a whole to 136.9 million PCs.