HP workstations go mobile

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) has entered the fledgling mobile workstation market with the release of the Compaq Evo Mobile Workstation N800w., it announced Monday.

ATI Technologies Inc.'s Mobility Fire GL 9000 graphics controller powers the high-quality graphics required by engineering professionals, delivering 64M bytes of dedicated video memory. The Fire GL 9000 was also announced Monday by ATI, and makes its debut in the N800w, said Paul Reed, North American product manager for the workstation division of HP.

High-end graphics are what turns a powerful notebook computer into a mobile workstation, Reed said. "To truly be a workstation, you need to use open 3D graphics, and be able to utilize graphics-intensive programs," he said. Those graphics are displayed on a 15-inch UXGA (1600 pixels by 1200 pixels) LCD (liquid crystal display) screen.

The N800w was certified and tested for CAD (computer-aided design) engineers and video editors who need a mobile version of the powerful desktop workstations normally used in those industries, Reed said HP's notebook and workstation divisions collaborated to produce the N800w, which is based on the N800c notebook form factor, said Debbie Loo, North American product manager for HP's notebook division. Intel Corp.'s latest Mobile Pentium 4-M processor, which runs at 2.2GHz, powers the base configuration of the U.S. version of the N800w, she said. Users in other areas of the world will start with the 2GHz Mobile Pentium 4-M, she said.

The N800w will be available worldwide on Sept. 30. The base configuration in the U.S. includes the 2.2GHz Mobile Pentium 4-M processor, 512M bytes of DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM), a 60G-byte internal hard drive, the 15-inch display, two USB (universal serial bus) 2.0 ports, a DVD/CD-RW drive, and a USB three-button mouse for a list price of US$3,899.

Other parts of the world will have slightly different starting prices and configurations, as each region around the world decides what configuration they would like to introduce, Loo said.

Users can expect 3.5 hours of battery life with the standard battery, and can opt for the Multibay addition, which adds about four additional hours, Loo said. Other optional enhancements include HP's Multiport for 802.11b wireless connectivity, and a 60G-byte external hard drive.

Dell Computer Corp. and IBM Corp. also make mobile workstations for the U.S. market. The Dell M50 costs $4,242 on Dell's Web site with a 1.8GHz Mobile Pentium 4-M processor, 512M bytes of DDR SDRAM, and a 40G-byte hard drive. The IBM a31p is priced at $3,599 with a 1.8GHz Mobile Pentium 4-M processor, 256M bytes of DDR SDRAM, and a 60G-byte hard drive.

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