IBM deploys new NetVista M-Series PCs

With little marketing pretense, IBM this week introduced three new PCs to its NetVista line of desktop computers. The new NetVista M-Series PCs quietly appeared on Big Blue's Web site.

All three NetVista M-Series systems sport Pentium 4 processors supported by Intel's 845 chip set, according to the Web site. The 845 chip set began shipping earlier this month and enables PC makers to incorporate older SDRAM (synchronous DRAM) memory instead of the pricier RDRAM (Rambus DRAM) that shipped with all previous Pentium 4 computers.

The NetVista M-Series' sharp-looking, dark-colored tower design, which IBM has dubbed "stealth black," can be had in three pricing categories -- what the company terms economy, value, and performance models.

Economy configurations include a 1.6GHz Pentium 4 chip, 128MB of SDRAM, a 40GB hard drive, CD-ROM, and the Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system.

Value systems deliver a 1.8GHz Pentium 4, 256MB of SDRAM, a 40GB hard drive, CD-ROM, and Windows 2000.

Performance NetVista M-Series PCs pack the latest 2GHz Pentium 4 chip, 256MB of SDRAM, a 40GB hard drive, CD-ROM, and Windows 2000.

Customizable through IBM's Web site, pricing for the NetVista M-Series ranges from US$1,169 to $1,849, according to IBM.

The NetVista line is the centerpiece of IBM's PC offerings. However, the Armonk, New York-based computer maker has been steadily de-emphasizing PCs as stand-alone products, choosing to focus instead on overall IT service as its bread and butter, according to officials.

IBM's PC strategy is reflected in its industry ranking as a PC vendor. According to International Data Corp. research, IBM is the No. 5 personal computer maker in the United States by number of shipments, coming in behind Dell Computer Corp., Compaq Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., and Gateway Inc., respectively.

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Dan Neel

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