In a boost to small businesses, Hewlett-Packard (HWP) has begun offering an upgrade of its Vectra 500 line that uses Intel's fastest Pentium and helps users set up peer-to-peer networks quickly and easily.
The new Vectra PCs use 200-MHz Pentium processors and include 32MB of RAM standard on high-end models, 8X CD-ROM drives, and graphics cards from Matrox Millenium. The upgrades also come bundled with a network kit, Internet software, and Intel's Proshare videoconferencing.
To help small businesses set up in-house networks, the HP Network Kit is a low-cost "single-box" solution that includes three LAN adapter cards, one hub, three network cables, easy-to-understand installation instructions, and free technical support. The kit is promised to let small businesses set up a peer-to-peer network in minutes for simple file, fax, and printer sharing.
The Network Kit is optimized to run with the 500 Series running Windows 95. HP Network Kit drivers are pre-installed on the 500 Series PC.
The series also includes pre-installed Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer browsers, Microsoft Word, and DataSafe data backup and recovery software to ensure maximum uptime for Vectra 500 users by providing access to a service from Connected for regular, automatic backup of data and the restoration of lost data.
New communications features for the upgraded Vectras include pre-installed Intel ProShare data-conferencing software on communications models so that users can work simultaneously on a single document while conducting a phone call with other parties. The software also provides simple file-sharing and white-board capabilities.
To make sure the PCs fit in with the ever-increasing focus on the Net in small businesses, the PCs include an animated, multimedia overview of the Internet; online help on selecting access providers; and an Internet startup tutorial with fast links to key, small-business Web sites, such as the Small Business Resource Center.
A Vectra 520 MCx with a 120-MHz Pentium processor, 1.2GB hard disk drive, 12MB of RAM, an 8X CD-ROM drive, a 28.8-kbps modem, and a 256KB level-2 cache is priced at $1,523.
A Vectra 525 MCx with a 200-MHz processor, a 2.5GB hard disk, 32MB of RAM, an 8X CD-ROM drive, a 28.8-kbps modem, and 256KB of level 2 cache is priced at $2,573.