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HP coughs up surprise update to desktop PC range

Breeds flock of hybrid DVD boxes

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

HP has quietly snuck through an update to its home desktop PC range with the computer giant now officially shipping its media centre systems with hybrid Blu-ray/HD DVD drives.

The firm has added the drives to both its Intel (m8010y) and AMD (m8100e) processor-powered Pavilion media centre models.

HP's decision to adopt the Blu-ray format, which is already backed by Sony as well as many of the Hollywood studios, alongside high definition DVD could satisfy consumers who are stuck with having to make a choice between the two competing formats.

But HP's notable shift of gears in the high-end market is not limited to consumers.

It also announced today that the firm is to extend its worldwide sales and marketing agreement with Microsoft to push high-performance computing (HPC) into the mass market.

It said the partnership hoped to deliver supercomputing clusters for enterprise and mid-market customers, and reckoned that the adoption of HPC by companies could see easier deployment and support.

The multimillion dollar deal with Microsoft could be significant for HP which is currently sitting in the number two spot for worldwide computer sales.

It said its HPC systems will ship with Windows Computer Cluster Server (CCS) 2003 and will be sold direct as well as through reseller channels as part of the firm's unified cluster portfolio, which includes support on HP ProLiant servers and HP Blade platforms.

HPC vice president and general manager at HP, Winston Prather, said: "We see the addition of Microsoft as an important part of our unified cluster portfolio program to expand the market and bring HPC technology to the mainstream."

HP has more on the new desktop PC range here and its agreement with Microsoft here. ®

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