Compaq adds to PC range

Arman Danesh

COMPAQ has added three new product lines to its range of PCs.

These include new desktop Presario PCs, notebook computers and Intelligence based server products.

The new Presarios range from the entry-level Presario 500 series, an all-in-one unit which has become the best-selling consumer PC on the market.

The top of the range is the Presario 900 series a mini-tower model which Compaq is aiming at users with more expansion needs.

Compaq is trying to create a true multimedia product with the new models.

According to William Chan, Compaq's product manager for its desktop line, multimedia PCs need to meet three basic requirements.


First, a 16-bit sound card, then a CD-ROM drive and finally a 14.4 bps fax/modem.

All their new models meet these needs.

In fact, in addition to these basic multimedia requirements, the Presarios have integrated into their designs a speaker phone.

This has voice messaging software so that the computers can answer the phone, take messages, receive faxes or hold a conversation with a caller.


The Presario CDS 520, the low-end all-in-one form-factor box, is the only model with a built-in speaker phone, and is based on a 486SX2 66-MHz processor which is upgradable with Intel's Overdrive chip.

It comes standard with four MB of memory and a 420-MB hard disk drive, and has two ISA expansion slots.


Like all the other models, it comes with local bus video.

The next step up is the Presario 700 series, which uses a desktop case.

Two models are available, the CDS 720. which is built around a 486SX2 66-MHz chip with four MB of RAM, and the CDS 724 which comes with eight MB of RAM and is powered by a 486DX2 66-MHz CPU.


Both 700 models can be expanded to 100 MB of RAM on the mother board and come with 420-MB hard drives and three industry stand architecture (ISA) expansion slots.

One MB of video RAM is standard, expandable to two MB.

The top-of-the-line 900 series has three models, the CDS 920 and CDS 924 as well as a non-multimedia model, the Presario 924.


The CDS 924 sports a 525-MB hard drive, as compared with the 420-MB in the other models.

Other features of the 900 series are similar to the CDS 724, including eight MB of RAM expandable to 100 MB, local bus video with one MB of video RAM and a 3.5-inch floppy drive.

The 900 series comes in mini-tower cases and provide five ISA slots and five drive bays.

All the Presarios come with a suite of pre-installed software, including telephone answering and fax software, plus Microsoft Works and Encarta, both on CD-ROM.

Compaq's line of portables now include three new Conturas.

The Contura is positioned between the high-end LTE Elite and Concerto and the sub-notebook Aero models.

The Contura 400 series lowers the weight of previous models.

It also adds portability features and improves the processor power of the notebook family.

Among the new features in the 400 models are a 19-mm trackball positioned on a hand rest below the keyboard, following the now-popular model established with the Macintosh Powerbooks, a status panel, a keyboard tilt feature and a clip-on handle for carrying the notebook.

The Contura 400s also now include two PCMCIA type II expansion slots, and the heavier models weigh only 2.2 kilograms.

All models use a 486DX2 40-MHz CPU and come with four MB of RAM expandable to 20 MB.

Like their desktop counterparts, the new Compaq notebooks come bundled with software, in this case DOS and Windows, plus Lotus Organiser, TabWorks, and Compaq's on-line documentation and tutorial system.

The Contura 400 is the low-end model in the new line which features a 9.5 inch monochrome display and the choice of a 170-MB or 250-MB hard drive.

Two colour models are also available, both with 250-MB hard drives.

The 400C uses a mid-range 9.5-inch dual scan passive matrix colour display while the 400cx features an 8.4-inch active matrix colour display.

At the higher end of the range, Compaq has also introduced new additions to its ProLiant line of servers in both its tower and Rack-Mountable families which include 90 MHz and 100 MHz Pentium models.

The new servers include several new technologies including the optional Transaction Blaster, a third-level cache which provides access to as much as two MB of high-speed cache RAM, a great boost to processor scalability.

In fact, speed tests point to the fact that a ProLiant server running four 100-MHz Pentium CPUs can break the 600 transactions per second barrier.

That is 70 per cent faster than similarly equipped ProLiant servers with four 66-MHz Pentiums.

Prices for the new products range from US$1,768 to $2,430 for the Presarios, US$2,144 to $3,681 for the Conturas and will start at US$14,308 for the Compaq ProLiant 2000 5/90 90-MHz Pentium server.

All the products should be available this month, according to Compaq.