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Intel/MS backed e-Vectra aims to simplify management

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Hewlett Packard (HP) has launched the trimmed-down e-PC it started talking about last November, although it doesn't start to ship in Europe until mid-April. Rolled into the Vectra range, the snappily named e-Vectra is designed to perform in much the same way as the ill-fated NetPC thin client platform of the 90s -- easier to manage, simpler to configure and harder for users to screw-up; there's no floppy-disk drive, no PCI or ISA expansion slots. It comes with either a PIII or Celeron chip, running either Windows 98/2000 or NT4, Quantum 8.4GB Ultra ATA/66 HDD, 3Com Fast Etherlink 10/100BASE-TX integrated LAN connection, two PS/2 and two USB ports as well as parallel and serial ports, on-board audio and a maximum of 256MB SDRAM. The whole lot weighs in at just 3.8 kilograms (eight pounds) and can be mounted on a wall or stowed under a counter top. It comes priced at £371. Eric Cador, vice president and general manager of HP's business desktop division, said: "Corporate customers have been asking for innovative, appliance-like desktop solutions that fit easily into their specific computing infrastructures." Three years ago when the thin client debate reached a high -- with the likes of IBM and Oracle pushing network computers, and HP and Compaq, among others, waving the NetPC flag -- this sort of talk was commonplace among hardware vendors, although most soon walked away from the project claiming there was insufficient demand to sustain such devices in volume. As thin clients go, the e-Vectra isn't the skinniest kid on the block, but it addresses a number of manageability issues that might make it attractive enough to corporate IT users. ®

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