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Dell fills out notebook line

Two lower-end Dell machines round out a line targeted at one of the hottest growth markets going.

Dell launched two new Inspiron 3000 notebooks today, filling out the month-old line of portables.

The Inspiron 3000 M166ST comes with a 166-MHz Pentium MMX processor, 16MB of SDRAM, a 2.1GB hard drive, and a 12.1-inch screen as well as 256K of Level 2 cache. The base configuration starts at $2,999.

In addition, Dell released the Inspiron 3000 M200ST, which contains a 200-MHz Pentium MMX processor, 32MB of RAM, and 512K Level 2 cache starting at $3,399.

The Inspiron line is aimed at the small and medium-sized business markets, often cited as one of the hottest growth markets in computing today. Dell released its first Inspiron 3000 last month with the launch of Intel's "Tillamook" chips, the low-powered MMX processors running at 200 MHz and 233 MHz. The original Inspiron 3000 contained a 233-MHz Pentium MMX.

The launch of the new notebook line follows a surge of brand equity for Dell in this market. A study released earlier in the month from International Data Corporation stated that businesses purchasing notebook computers over the next 12 months are most likely to consider buying a notebook PC from Dell, as compared to other vendors. The study canvassed 300 users--mostly information system personnel--at medium-sized and large companies. Dell beat out notebook industry stalwarts such as IBM, Toshiba, and Compaq.

Vendors were graded on system reliability, product availability, vendor reputation, and service and support, among other considerations, according to Randy Giusto, a notebook market analyst at IDC.