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Powerful notebooks get cheaper

Gateway is the first notebook PC vendor to approach $2,000 with both a Pentium II and a big screen.

A number of major vendors have been pushing Pentium II-based notebooks under the $2,000 mark of late, but Gateway is the first to approach this price with both a Pentium II chip and a gigantic, high-quality 14.1-inch LCD screen.

Gateway revised its notebook lineup to include the Solo 5150, which will be priced starting at $2,299 for a 233-MHz Pentium II processor, a 14.1-inch active matrix display, a 2.5GB hard disk drive, and CD-ROM drive, among other features.

A system with more memory and about sixty percent more hard drive capacity is priced at $2,699.

Toshiba, IBM, and Compaq offer notebooks with Pentium II processors that are at or near the $2,000 mark. However, most of these systems offer smaller, lower-quality dual scan displays.

Industry analysts say that over the past year the cost of components such as hard disk drives, displays, and processors have dropped faster than manufacturer's prices, making notebooks cheaper to build. As long as component prices continue their rapid decline, PC makers can continue to make respectable profits on notebooks.

In related news, IBM said it is adding a new model to its popular new "thin and light" ThinkPad 600 series. The 4.7lb. notebook will come with 233-MHz Pentium II processor, 12.1-inch active matrix display and CD-ROM will be priced at $3,199.

The Solo 5150 notebooks, which are Gateway's "thin and light" notebooks, will be in general availability on August 24. The systems are currently available for corporate and government accounts.