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US reports said that Compaq will introduce so-called legacy free boxes at the end of next week, using the slimmed down Easy PC design Intel pushed hard throughout the year. According to news.com, the PCs are also likely to include Internet services, although it is unclear whether this just applies to the US. The designs are likely to use either the i810, the i810e or the i820 chipset, and incorporate USB support, and is unlikely to have ISA slots. Both Intel and Microsoft are attempting to move PC vendors to machines incorporating snazzy designs but such systems are not necessarily cheaper than the traditional, beige-box model. That is because many of the newer so called "style PC" designs use LCD monitors, which are still very much more expensive than cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors. Intel is heavily pushing USB as the preferred way for peripherals to communicate with PCs, despite criticism from some that FireWire is a more preferable option. ®

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