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Fastest AMD chip in notebook

Next month, Micro Express will introduce a portable PC featuring a 300-MHz K6-2 and a large display for under $2,300.

Next month, Micro Express will introduce a new notebook featuring an AMD K6-2 processor and a large display for under $2,300.

The new notebook will come with a 300-MHz K6-2 (a Pentium II-class chip) and a 13.1-inch active-matrix display for $2,299, according to sources close to the Irvine, California, PC vendor. Similarly configured notebooks with a Pentium II sell for at least several hundred dollars more.

The NPK6300 will also incorporate a 3GB hard drive, a CD-ROM drive, and 56-kbps modem. Microsoft's Windows 98 will come bundled.

Micro Express was one of the first PC makers to use AMD processors in an effort to keep prices down. The lesser-known PC maker was offering K6 systems in June 1997, before major vendors like Compaq Computer took a chance on AMD's low-cost chips.

The new notebook can also be outfitted with an optional DVD-ROM drive, Zip drive, or second battery.

"A lot of [third-tier PC makers] are trying to beat the market relative to the price or feature set of a big market vendor," said Gerry Purdy, president of Mobile Insights. "The big vendors have become very smart about targeting and developing quality products. That's why the market segment 'other' has really shrunk."

In other notebook news, SystemSoft announced its MobileAssist software solution for notebook users. MobileAssist helps extend battery life, troubleshoots problematic modem and dial-up connections, and automates the configuration of peripheral devices.

"A number of feature sets [have been] integrated into an offering that could be quite important to users," Purdy said of the SystemSoft product. "You look at this, and think: why didn't they think of this before? This has the potential to be quite successful."