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Acer box foreshadows NetPC

Acer announces a new line of network-ready business PCs with Pentium processors that will sell for under $800, presaging the arrival of the NetPC.

    Acer America announced a new line of network-ready business PCs with Pentium processors that will sell for under $800, presaging the arrival of the NetPC.

    Acer's line of inexpensive PCs for businesses, like the forthcoming NetPCs, are intended to help reduce the cost of managing and maintaining computer networks. This particular line, however, is not being marketed as a NetPC.

    The NetPC is a computer environment based on hardware and software specifications set by Intel, Microsoft, Compaq, and Hewlett-Packard. It is intended to head off competition from low-cost network computers.

    Acer's systems are being targeted at businesses that require systems to come configured with PC management software and hardware.

    The AcerPower Network-ready series will ship with support for Desktop Management Interface (DMI) and the LANDesk Client Manager from Intel, which are also components of the NetPC specification. DMI is an industry standard framework for managing desktop systems and servers. The LANDesk software allows a manager to perform asset inventory, printer management, and software upgrades from a central location.

    The new models also ship with preinstalled network cards from 3Com. The PCs also support "smart" hard disk drive technology that tells systems managers of pending drive failure.

    Acer says the new systems will be offered with 133- to 200-MHz Pentium processors, 16MB to 32MB of memory, and hard disk drives up to 2.1GB in capacity. Prices will range from $799 to $1,125. Systems are currently available, the company said.

    Acer's introduction of the new AcerPower models follows a move by Hewlett-Packard into the same sub-$1000 market segment. HP's systems, however, will use the K5 processors from Advanced Micro Devices.