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Loaded 333-MHz PC for $2,199

NEC's price is one of the lowest available for a full-featured computer with a monitor.

Attention shoppers: NEC Computer Systems is advertising a desktop PC featuring a 333-MHz Pentium II microprocessor for $2,199 with monitor, one of the lowest prices available for a machine with Intel's top-line chip.

The system is the latest in a series of discount cutting-edge computers that have emerged from NEC since the company opened its direct sales program, NEC Now.

The Massachusetts-based subsidiary of Japan's giant NEC Corporation has

NEC's Direction SPL333
NEC's Direction SPL333
focused on its Web site sales and "build-to-order" strategy since last July, when it shifted its focus to the direct model used by Dell and Gateway. NEC's direct sales strategy, coupled with new lower prices, is mainly targeted at business customers.

While the shift sales initially resulted in a revenue dip, the program has allowed NEC to stay on the front lines of price wars. Similar computers from other vendors generally retail for $100 to $200 more than the NEC's offerings, and often do not come with monitors.

The Direction SPL333 features a 333-MHz Pentium II processor with the MMX instruction set, 64MB of memory, and a 4.3GB hard drive. A CD-ROM drive and a modem are among the extras. Comparable machines from Compaq and IBM retail for between $2,500 and $2,600.