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Packard Bell looks to iMac clone for survival

Last chance to make good before NEC pulls plug?

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Packard Bell NEC has beaten Dell to release a Wintel-based clone of Apple's iMac, and is almost certainly the PC company's last chance to turn its financial situation around. Dubbed the Z1, the machine sports an all-in-one design centring on an 15in LCD screen. It also features an 8.4GB hard drive, 96MB RAM, 56kbps modem, four USB ports, S3 Savage 4 graphics card, DVD-ROM player and 450MHz Pentium III CPU. In fact, for all the comparisons with the iMac, the Z1 actually more closely resembles Apple's ill-fated 20th Anniversary Mac, a svelte LCD-based all-in-one that was launched a couple of years back at too high a price, with a spec. way below Apple's other Power Macs. And price could be an issue with the Z1. With the PC market increasingly turning to sub-$1000 machines, even the $1199 iMac is beginning to look pricey. However, the Z1 will retail for $2499 when it goes on sale in the US in August. That suggests Packard Bell NEC is aiming the machine more at the executive market than the consumer arena it's known for. And the move had better work. Two weeks ago, NEC president Kouiji Nishigaki said his company will "sell, merge or close" Packard Bell unless there is a turnaround. ®

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