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HP debuts sub-$1,000 PCs

Hewlett-Packard is readying sub-$1,000 PCs based on Advanced Micro Devices K5 processors.

Hewlett-Packard (HWP) will begin selling sub-$1,000 PCs for small businesses based on inexpensive K5 processors from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

The new HP Vectra 500 Series PCs start at $975. By offering inexpensive PCs for small businesses, HP is trying to compete effectively with low-cost "no-name" brands which have been sold in the past to small-business customers by system integrators at the expense of offerings from name-brand computer vendors such as HP, according to HP officials.

All the new models use the K5 processor from AMD. The K5 is on par with the performance of 133- and 166-MHz Pentium processors and is an older design than the K6 processor AMD announced at the beginning of this month. Companies such as Digital Equipment and Fujitsu-ICL have indicated they will use the high-performance--and more expensive--K6 processor.

HP said the reason it elected to use the K5 instead of Intel's Pentium processor is strictly price. The K5 is currently priced at a significant discount to comparable Pentium processors, according to HP officials.

Like other Vectra 500 models targeted at small businesses, which typically don't have a staff of computer technicians, the PCs come with diagnostic software for helping computer novices fix problems and a CD-ROM for bringing a system back online if it goes down. HP also includes Internet software.

Options include the HP Network Kit, which allows a small business to set up a network, and tape backup systems.

The Vectra 500 Series model 320 5/133 with an AMD K5 processor comparable in performance to a 133-MHz Pentium, 16MB of memory, and a 1.2GB hard disk drive is priced at $975.

A model 320 MCx 5/166 with a K5 comparable in performance to a 166-MHz Pentium processor, 16MB of memory, 1.6GB hard disk drive, a CD-ROM drive, and a modem is priced at $1,395.