Hardware News Roundup

By Eric Grevstad | Posted July 06, 2006

Extra processing power in the form of dual-core processors continues to be the trend in desktop and notebook computers, while large flat-panel display prices slide into the $500 and less range.

Gateway Singles Out Dual-Core Desktops, Bundles MS Office Basic
Gateway PCs are becoming familiar sights on retail shelves, but the company hasn't forgotten its direct — Web or phone order — customers. As of now, Intel's dual-core technology comes standard in all direct-purchased desktops and most laptops (Gateway's 3.5-pound slim-line notebook has Core Solo power). In addition, Microsoft Office Basic, with the full versions of Word, Excel, and Outlook 2003, has replaced Microsoft Works as a standard part of the vendor's software bundle.

According to Gateway, its most affordable desktop is now the $799 model DX310S, equipped with a Pentium D processor, 512MB of memory, a 160GB hard disk, multi-format DVD burner, and a 15-inch LCD monitor. Direct-purchase notebooks start at $999 for the 5.3-pound Gateway NX260X, with a Core Duo 2050 CPU, 14.1-inch widescreen display, 80GB hard drive, DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo and 802.11a/b/g plus Bluetooth wireless.

Gateway has also trimmed the price of its flagship FPD2185W flat-panel display from $600 to $500. The 21-inch monitor features 1,680 by 1,050 resolution; portrait/landscape pivoting; VGA, DVI, S-Video, composite, and component inputs; HDCP support for viewing high-definition content; and 300 nits of brightness with a 1,000:1 contrast ratio.

NEC Introduces Its 20-Inch Widescreen LCD
Wide-aspect-ratio LCD monitors are getting more popular every day. Now NEC Display Solutions has unveiled a 20.1-inch monitor with extra-sharp 1,680 by 1,050 resolution backed by a 500:1 contrast ratio, 300 nits of brightness, and a 10-millisecond response time to keep up with fast-paced video or games.

Along with both VGA and DVI inputs, the MultiSync LCD2070WNX offers a height-adjustable tilt and swivel stand, a four-port USB 2.0 hub, and NEC's NaviSet software for easier display-settings adjustments via mouse and keyboard. It's available in either black or silver/white for $450.

Toshiba Revs Up Compact and Convertible Laptops with Dual-Core Processors
Small business professionals and students are the target market for two new retail notebooks from Toshiba. The six-pound Satellite R25-S3503 ($1,349) is a convertible Tablet PC with a wide-aspect-ratio (1,440 by 900) TruBrite screen and Intel's Core Duo T2050 (1.6GHz) processor, as well as 1GB of memory, a 100GB Serial ATA hard disk, and a dual-layer DVD±RW drive. Intel's Pro/Wireless 3945ABG adapter provides wireless networking, while the 14.1-inch-diagonal display offers roughly the room of a standard 8.5 by 11-inch pad for note taking and drawing.

Thin and light laptop fans can check out two Satellite U205 models, each 1.4 inches slim and starting at 4.1 pounds. Shared features include a 12.1-inch, 1,280 by 800 TruBrite display, 1GB of DDR-2 memory, a DVD±RW burner, 802.11a/b/g wireless, and Windows XP Professional. The U205-S5002 offers a 1.66GHz Core Duo T2300E processor and 100GB hard drive for $1,199. The model S5022 ($1,349) steps up to Core Duo T2400 (1.83GHz) power and a 120GB hard drive.

Adapted from hardwarecentral.com.

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