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Toshiba drives notebooks down to £499

Plus: a host of new notebooks, and Dell's 800MHz FSB server

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Notebooks

Toshiba today added new Satellite Pro and Porté gé notebooks to its extensive line-up. The Satellite Pro A10 series is aimed at SMEs on rock-bottom budgets, while the Porté gé M100 family targets users willing to pay a premium for portability.

The A10 line comprises two models, both based on Intel's Mobile Celeron processor, clocked at 2.0GHz. Both bundle 256MB of DDR SDRAM, expandable to 1GB; and include a 20GB hard drive, 10/100Mbps Ethernet, 56Kbps modem, a pair of USB 2.0 ports and a 14.1in LCD. Graphics support is integrated into the machines' Intel 852GM chipset. Part of the main memory bank is reserved for graphics use.

Optical storage comes courtesy of a built in DVD-ROM in the cheaper, £499 model and a DVD/CD-RW combo drive in the other, which is priced at £599. The two versions ship with Windows XP Home Edition and XP Pro, respectively. Prices do not include UK sales tax.

The £1499 Porté gé M100 is based on a Low-voltage Pentium M running at 1.2GHz. It's a Centrino system, so it also includes Intel's 802.11b WLAN adaptor. It ships with 256MB of DDR memory, but can take up to 2GB of RAM. A 40GB hard drive is included, along with a DVD-ROM unit.

The M100 sports a compact 12.1in screen powered by the integrated Intel 855GM chipset and up to 64MB of shared system memory.

In addition to wireless communications, the M100 offers the obligatory wired 10/100Mbps Ethernet and 56Kbps modem, plus an IrDA port, dual USB 2.0 ports and a 1394 connector. The notebook also features a SD card slot.



Fujitsu Siemens is also targeting the limited-budget user with its

Lifebook C1110

. Unlike the Toshiba A10, the C1110 is based on Intel's Centrino platform, but the extra performance and integrated Wi-Fi comes at a price: £951 excluding sales tax.



The C1110 is based on a 1.3GHz Pentium M, backed with up to 1GB of DDR SDRAM (and up to 2GB when suitable memory modules become widely available, says FS). A choice of 20, 40 or 60GB hard drive is offered, and users can select a CD-ROM, DVD-ROM or DVD/CD-RW combo optical drive.

Two screen types are on offer: a 14.1in display and a 15.1in unit, both with a 1024x768 native resolution. The graphics are powered by the integrated Intel 855GM chipset and up to 64MB of shared system memory.

There's a built-in 56Kbps modem and 10/100Mbps Ethernet port. The C1110 also includes Infra Red communications, legacy ports and two USB 2.0 connectors.

The base model (14.1in LCD, CD-ROM drive) weighs 2.7kg (6lbs). That model measures 32.6 x 27.2 x 3.6cm, while the 15.1in version measures 32.6 x 27.2 x 3.7cm.



Sharp

has upgraded its Actius RD notebook family with the RD20 desktop replacement model that adds DVD burning to the list of features.



The RD20 is based on a 3.06GHz Pentium 4, 512MB of DDR SDRAM (expandable to 1GB) and 60GB of hard drive storage. Its screen is a 15in 1024 x 768 display with, says Sharp, viewing angles of 160 degrees horizontally and 135 degrees in the vertical. The panel is driven by Nvidia's GeForce 4 440 Go chip.

The notebook ships with a DVD-R/-RW/RAM multi-mode DVD drive which can also burn CD-R/RW discs. DVD playback is enhanced with a WinDVD plug-in, Sharp FX, which auto-adjusts the display for better picture quality, and the notebook's own support for Dolby 5.1 multi-channel sound, though this requires external speakers in addition to the two built-in units.

The RD20 also offers an integrated 802.11b WLAN adaptor; Memory Stick, SD card, Smart Media and Compact Flash support; a 1394 connector and four USB 2.0 ports.

Available in the US now, the RD20 is priced at $2499.

Server

Fed up of waiting for Intel to release Xeon CPUs with 800MHz effective bit rate frontside bus support, Dell has begun offering a single-processor server using the 3.2GHz Pentium 4.

There's a price advantage too: the PowerEdge 400SC starts at $499. It supports up to 4GB of 400MHz ECC DDR SDRAM and is aimed at small office roles, such as file and print serving.

Despite the top-of-the-range Pentium 4 chip, the server doesn't ship with Serial ATA drives, only dual IDE or SCSI units. Hardware RAID controllers are offered as optional extras. However, Gigabit Ethernet is included in the price.

The PowerEdge 400SC is available immediately with factory installation of Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server 2003, or Red Hat Linux. ®

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