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Sharp US has extended its Actius notebook line to add not only multimedia muscle but enhanced mobility to the range.

The company claims the Actius MM10 is the thinnest and lightest notebook on the US market today. The MM10 weight 2.1lbs and is half an inch thick. Its fanless operation is made possible by a 1GHz Transmeta Crusoe TM5800 processor. Sharp claims a typical batter life of 2.9 hours.

Wi-Fi support is built in, as is a 100Mbps Ethernet port, two USB 2.0 ports, 256MB DDR SDRAM, 15GB hard drive and a PC Card slot. The display is a 10.4in TFT.

There's no optical storage - Sharp clearly sees users copying apps and data over from a main machine. It bundles Iomega synchronisation software to keep it all in harmony. The bundled PDA-esque connection cradle doubles as a battery recharger. An optional external DVD/CD-RW drive is available.

Sharp wants $1499 for all this.

The Actius RD-10 is pricer, but its $2199 price-tag includes a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 processor, 15in display viewable at 160 degrees horizontally and 135 degrees vertically - comparable to a desktop LCD screen, claims Sharp - and a GeForce 4 420 Go chip with 32MB of graphics RAM. A combo DVD/CD-RW drive is built in too.

So is Wi-Fi support, four USB 2.0 ports, a 1394 port, plus Memory Stick, SD card, SmartMedia and CompactFlash card slots.

Desktop

HP's Media Center PC line has two new members in the US: the 864n and the 854n.

Both offer a DVD+RW/CD-RW drive as standard, along with TiVO-style TV recording and Apple-style DVD video mastering. There's a 48x CD-ROM drive too.

Both ship with 512MB of DDR SDRAM and a 128MB GeForce 4 MX 440-based graphics card. Five USB 2.0 ports (one at the front, the rest at the rear), 1394, 100Mbps Ethernet, and a six-in-one media card reader fill out the package.

The difference lies in the processor and hard disk capacites offered by each model. The 864n is based on a 2.66GHz Pentium 4 with a 533MHz frontside bus. It includes a 160GB hard drive. The 854n has a 120GB drive and a 2.53GHz P4.

In addition, the 864n ships with a Creative Labs Audigy 5.1 multi-channel sound card. It's priced at $1699. The 854n comes in at $1399. ®

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