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New Pentium Pro systems on the way

Vendors are unveiling new offerings today in hopes of leading the parade of new Windows NT systems based on the new Pentium Pro chipset.

Dell Computer, AST Research, and two motherboard vendors are unveiling new offerings today in hopes of leading the parade of new Windows NT systems based on Intel's new chipset for the Pentium Pro processor

Intel's 440FX chip set, formerly code-named Natoma, is designed to offer higher performance than the previous Pentium Pro chipset because it supports faster EDO (Extended Data Out) memory and has an enhanced design for routing data through the processor's input-output (I/O) paths. The new chipset is expected to spawn a brood of new low-priced Pentium Pro systems targeted at corporations.

Dell is among the first, with the addition of two new Pentium Pro systems to its Dell Dimension XPS Pro product line. The new Dell Dimension XPS Pro180n and Pro200n systems are based on the 180- and 200-MHz Pentium Pro processors, respectively, and include the new 440FX chipset.

In addition to EIDE hard drives, the new XPS Pro systems support high-performance Fast SCSI II hard drives and a new video solution, the Number Nine Imagine 128 Series 2 card.

Dell will begin taking orders for these systems immediately. Prices range from $2,599 for a 180-MHz system to $4,449 for a 200-MHz system.

The company also announced that it will soon introduce a new OptiPlex PC based on the Pentium Pro processor for large corporate accounts and government customers.

AST today announced its plans to use the Intel 440FX chipset for new models in its line of Pentium Pro-based Bravo commercial desktops due by the end of the quarter.

Micronics Computers, a major motherboard manufacturer, also today announced its second generation Pentium Pro product, the M6Mi. The new motherboard is designed to be a cost-effective, high-performance system board that uses the 440FX chipset.

The M6Mi uses Pentium Pro chips ranging from 150 MHz to 200 MHz and features support for both the Enhanced Data Out (EDO) and Fast Page Mode (FPM) memory technologies. In addition, the architecture supports Error Checking and Correction (ECC), enhanced PCI throughput, Mode 4 PCI Enhanced IDE, PCI and ISA expansion slots, Universal Serial Bus (USB) on the motherboard and 16-bit Sound Blaster compatible sound.

Tyan Computer, another high-performance motherboard manufacturer, is one of the first to announce a system board based on the 440FX that supports two Pentium Pro processors. The TitanPro AT and TitanPro ATX system boards are set to ship in June to system integrators and OEMs. The company has not yet set pricing.

Related story:
Pro push may presage Pentium decline