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Walmart.com flogs $199 Linux OS PCs

VIA, Lindows supply the juice

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Wal-Mart is famous/notorious for its relentless focus on price.

By squeezing suppliers and collapsing margins, it killed mainstreet USA. In recent years, it's taking on and - in its home country at least - beating the giant grocery chains.

Now it's decided to have a little fun with the PC business. The world's biggest retailer is flogging a new desktop 'puter for $199. That's right -$199.
Granted, we're talking system unit here, and granted, the PC is available only through its US online store walmart.com.

Supplied by US system builder Microtel, the Wal-Mart cheapo box appeals to minority IT interests too. For it features a VIA C3 processor and LindowsOS, the new Linux distro.

Microtel is supplying a the retailer with a range of machines, all incorporating the VIA C3. These are the Microtel SYSMAR710, SYSMAR715, SYSMAR150 and SYSMAR151. The 710 is bundled with Lindows, while the 151 comes with Windows Home XP. The latter costs $100 more, which may be significant.

The VIA C3 processor is never going to win prizes for performance - but for price/performance at the budget end of the market, it's very hard to beat. The processor comes with 128MB SDRAM on a VIA Apollo PLE133 chipset-based mobo, supplying integrated graphics.

And unlike Wal-Mart's previous foray into cheap PCs, with OS-less units, this machine is the entry-level of a range "set to redefine the desktop PC market, initially targeting the back-to-school, small office and home computer segments", according to VIA.

That sounds like fighting talk. ®

The cheapo PC

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