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Dell debuts Itanium workstation

Wireless notebooks and revamped Optiplex PCs too

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Dell is debuting its new PC, notebook and workstation lines today.

The Round Rock-based company gave a sneak preview of its prototype Itanium-based workstation last night according to the US press, part of a batch of business boxes it plans to launch today.

The Itanium workstation was shown as part of the Precision workstation range, and is due to ship with two 733MHz processors - apparently the majority of Itanium chips will be this speed rather than the 800MHz Intel had been gunning for.

Direct giant Dell plans to ship pilot systems in Q4 and production models at the start of next year, according to TechWeb. "Itanium will be needed in workstations for two reasons," a Dell manager, who asked not to be named, told the newswire.

"First, there will be the higher floating-point performance. Second, even workstations will run into the 2-Gbyte-per-processor limit [of 32-bit operating systems and processors]."

Also expected today is the launch of the Latitude C range of notebooks - which have apparently been revamped to flaunt their wireless capabilities. The two models will sport antennas and offer IEEE 802.11B wireless networking. They will target the corporate, education, retail, government and health care markets.

The high-end C800 laptop will be based on a 850MHz PIII with Intel's 815 chipset and weigh around 5.5 pounds. It will have 15-inch screen, 64MB of memory, 16MB of video RAM, 10GB hard drive and cost around $3,200. Dell expects to begin taking orders for the machine within 60 days, CNET reported.

The C600 will be available from Monday - it comes with 14.1-inch screen and is 4.9 pounds in weight. It will be based on a 700MHz PIII, with 64MB RAM, 8MB of video memory, 6GB hard drive and will cost $2,599.

The company is also expected to show off its revamped Optiplex desktop PC today. The new Optiplex GX 150 will be smaller than Dell's current desktops and come in grey instead of beige.

Apparently Dell reckons it can make 40 per cent more of these smaller machines - which will help pitch it against the likes of Compaq's iPaq - on the same production lines as its standard-sized Optiplex machines. It will also save face for the company, which last year launched its WebPC to a fanfare only to ditch the model six months later after flagging sales.

The Optiplex GX 150 is due to start shipping in October. ®

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