HP announces business PCs, workstations

HP announces business PCs, workstations

Hewlett-Packard Co. is expanding its HP Compaq Business Desktop line, unveiling the first its new high-end 7000 series and a new line of workstations offering a lower price for strong performance.

The new dc7100 business PC is scheduled to ship in early July. It boasts one of Intel's newest chip sets, the 915G (announced last week along with the 915P and 925X chip sets), with the new, ultra-fast PCI Express bus.

HP has also announced a new line of workstations starting at a lower cost yet offering strong performance: The entry-level HP Workstation xm4200 (which starts at US$849), the midrange xm6200 (starts at $1,399), and the high-end xm8200 (starts at $1,799). The xm6200 and the xm8200 are available now; the xm4200 is scheduled to ship in July. These units also use new Intel chip sets, each of which features the PCI Express bus, and, for the xm6200 and xm8200, also boast support for Intel's new Xeon processors with Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology (EM64T), which are 32-bit and 64-bit capable.

More desktop power

Pricing for the new dc7100 PCs start at about $849. That entry system has a 2.8-GHz Pentium 4 processor with Hyperthreading Technology, a 40GB hard drive, 256MB of DDR SDRAM, Windows XP, and the 915G chip set's integrated graphics. You can upgrade the unit with a PCI Express graphics card, optical drives, up to a 3.6-GHz P4 CPU, up to 160GB SATA hard drive, and up to 4GB of RAM. Although the 915G chip set supports faster DDR2 SDRAM, HP has opted not to include this option in its dc7100 at this time.

Like previous generations of HP business PCs, the dc7100 comes in a choice of three cases: an ultra slim desktop, a small form-factor desktop, and a minitower. The cases now offer more venting slots in the front to help with heat management. All three boast tool-less cases, with easy to remove hard drives and expansion cards.

The unit now offers Altiris Local Recovery software, which backs up a user's data and system image in a hidden, protected partition on the system hard drive. That way, users can recover their own data and settings in case of emergency, without a call to the IS desk. The dc7100 also comes with HP ProtectTools Embedded Security Manager. This combination hardware and software solution provides a one-stop shop for security tasks like user authentication, data encryption, and secure communications.

HP says the system can maintain a consistent software and hardware image for 15 months, a plus for corporate buyers.

HP is using the new Intel chip sets in other new systems, as are Dell Inc., IBM Corp., and Gateway Inc., which all announced the PCs last week.

Intel has recalled some of the 915 and 925 chip sets because of a manufacturing error that may prevent systems from starting up normally; that, in turn, has caused a delay in PC shipments to users.

Workstation power

The new crop of HP workstations take advantage of the latest technology from Intel, starting with new chip sets and, in the case of the xm6200 and xm8200, a new CPU as well.

For top processing muscle, the xm6200 and xm8200 begin by offering dual-Xeon CPU configurations with Intel's new EM64T, supported for the first time in new Xeon chips and the new E7525 chip set that are also newly announced. The new technology combines standard 32-bit processing with 64-bit extensions, which lets users run both 32-bit and 64-bit software, much like AMD's Athlon 64 and Opteron processors.

EM64T also increases addressable memory to 256 terabytes; the high-end xm8200 will only offer up to 16GB (with 2GB DIMMs), however. It provides the largest chassis and the greatest level of expandability, with up to 1.5GB of internal storage, while the xm6200 balances scalability with a smaller footprint. Both support DDR2 ECC registered memory and have an 800-MHz front side bus.

The entry-level xm4200 comes with the 925X Express chip set, which includes the PCI Express bus, support for DDR2 SDRAM, and support for future EM64T CPUs, when they're available. Today, systems are available with up to a 3.6-GHz Pentium 4 CPU with HT and up to 4GB of RAM. It has an 800-MHz front side bus and its four-channel integrated SATA RAID controller can be configured with in a mirrored or striped array.

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