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MicronPC gets back into servers

The PC maker announces a machine designed for small businesses and government agencies that it hopes will stack up against products from Dell and Compaq.

MicronPC has leapt back into the server fray, announcing Tuesday a machine designed for storing and sharing files inside small and medium-sized businesses and government organizations.

The new Pentium III-based NetFrame 3500 will be capable of housing up to two 1GHz Pentium III chips, 4GB of synchronous dynamic RAM, and up to 720GB of storage space, divided into 10 hard drives, the PC maker said.

MicronPC previously offered servers under a contract deal with Hewlett-Packard. HP manufactured the servers, which were sold under the NetServer brand name.

Micron hopes the machine, which has a base price of $1,999, will compete cost-wise with products from the likes of Dell Computer and Compaq Computer. For $1,999, it will come with a single 933MHz Pentium III, 128MB of SDRAM and an 18GB hard drive. Meanwhile, a dual 1GHz Pentium III machine with 72GB of disk space will cost about $4,900, the company said.

The introduction of the server is part of an effort by MicronPC to revamp its product line, making it more attractive to the company's new target customers: small businesses and government agencies.

MicronPC also recently revamped its Millennia line of desktop PCs and is expected to launch new notebooks later this month.

"Our (new) model is not about trying to be the biggest," Mike Adkins, MicronPC's president, told CNET in June. Instead, "we believe that we can successfully carve out niches" in which the company can be successful.

MicronPC, formerly a division of Micron Technologies, is now owned by Gores Technology, which purchased the company in May. Gores is expected to eventually sell the company.

A MicronPC representative said the NetFrame 3500 will be the first in a new line of several servers. MicronPC will continue to offer the HP manufactured NetServer line to existing customers, but has no plans to offer new models under the agreement.