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Toshiba, HP unveil Media Center 2004 notebooks

Dell and Gateway go for the desktop market

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Notebooks

Toshiba today launched what it claims is the world's first notebook running Windows XP Media Centre Edition: an updated version of its 17in Satellite P20 machine. The OS is the new release: MCE 2004.

Based on a desktop 3.2GHz Pentium 4 processor backed by 525MB of DDR SDRAM, 80GB hard drive and an Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 Go graphics chip, the P20 is a true desktop replacement machine - it weighs 4.5kg (9.9lbs) for starters. The notebook's screen is a 16:10 ratio, 1440 x 900 job, and the machine features integrated Harmon Kardon speakers and a multi-format DVD/CD writer.

Adding XP MCE to the equation brings TiVo-style telly recording to the notebook, and offers better content creation and filing tools than vanilla Windows XP, Microsoft claims. It also ties in more closely to the hardware's multimedia features.

The 3.2GHz P20 is available through Toshiba's retail channel for around £2299 including UK sales tax.



Toshiba's P20 may be the first Media Center notebook in the UK, but in the US it's sharing the accolade with HP, which has launched a Media Center portable of its own, the

zd7000 series

.



The series' two models both sport a 17in screen, 512MB of DDR SDRAM and Pentium 4 processors clocked at up to 3.06GHz. The zd7010 ships with a 60GB hard drive, combo DVD-ROM/CD-RW unit, and Nvidia GeForce 4 440 Go graphics. The zd7001 improves on those specs. with an 80GB HDD, multi-format DVD/CD writer and GeForce FX 5600 Go graphics.

The two machines cost $1899 and $2299 but bundle $100 mail-in rebate coupons.

Desktop

HP has also unveiled a line of MCE 2004 desktops, the m300 series. The BTO systems can be configured with Pentium 4 processors clocked at between 2.4GHz and 3.2GHz, 80-250GB of hard disk storage, 512MB to 1.5GB of DDR SDRAM, either PC2700 or PC3200, and a combo DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive or DVD+RW/+R unit.

Buyers can add a 128MB Nvidia GeForce FX 5600 graphics card and a Creative Audigy 2 sound card to the basic set-up. All machines feature a seven-in-one memory card reader. Prices start at $999 without a monitor.



HP and Toshiba are old Media Center hands, but

Dell

yesterday joined the Media Center crew for the first time. It's offering three Dimension desktops - the 4600, the slimline 4600C and 8300 - with the upgraded OS as an option.



Prices start at $999, but that's a basic system without DVD or CD writing. Maxing out the spec - 2GB DDR SDRAM, 3.2GHz P4, multi-format DVD/CD writer, Audigy 2 sound card - takes the price of the 4600 to over $2200, for example.



Gateway

has upgraded its 610 all-in-one Media Center desktop to include the OS' 2004 release. Three models - the 610S, 610X and 610XL - sport P4s clocked at 2.4, 2.6 and 3.06GHz, respectively. The 610S ships with 256MB of DDR SDRAM, an 80GB HDD and a combo DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive. The 610X ups the memory to 512MB and the hard drive to 120GB. The 610XL has a 250GB hard drive, 512MB of 400MHz DDR and a DVD-RW/CD-RW optical unit.



All three all-in-one models feature a 17in LCD screen with integrated speakers. Their prices are $1500, $1700 and $2000, respectively, minus a single cent. ®

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