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Dell launches 233-MHz notebook

A fast processor and a 13.3-inch screen give the cutting-edge notebook near-parity with desktops at a lower price than competitors.

Dell Computer (DELL) today introduced a new line of notebooks, including a 233-MHz model for under $4,000.

The Inspiron 3000, the first in the Inspiron line, features a 233-MHz Pentium MMX processor, a 13.3-inch active-matrix LCD screen, and a 20X CD-ROM drive, along with 32MB of high-speed memory and a 2.1GB hard drive.

The Inspiron's Pentium "Tillamook" MMX processor, along with a comparatively large screen that offers 1024-by-768 resolution, gives the notebook near-parity with desktop machines. Released earlier this week by Intel, the Tillamook comes on a module that also contains Intel's newest notebook PC chipset, which boosts performance.

The unveiling of the Inspiron series follows a favorable report from International Data Corp. stating that businesses purchasing notebook computers over the next 12 months are most likely to consider buying a notebook PC from Dell. According to IDC numbers, Dell was the fifth-largest notebook vendor in the U.S. last quarter.

The Inspiron 3000 is priced at $3,999, at least $1,000 less than comparable top-of-the-line products from IBM, Compaq, and Gateway 2000. Dell, which operates on a direct-sales model, is currently accepting orders and expects to begin shipping in mid-October.