HP Sends New Desktops to Work

Hewlett-Packard introduced two new desktop PCs for business customers Tuesday, and reorganized its commercial PC ranges in a move it claimed will simplify things for customers.

The reshuffle groups PCs into basic, mainstream, and advanced ranges, the HP Compaq 2000, 5000, and 7000 series, the company says. On Monday, HP revamped its server range for small and medium-size businesses.

HP will sell the new business PCs alongside the current d200, d300, and d500 business PC product lines, says David Hemphill, a product manager with HP.

The first model in the 2000 series, the dx2000, comes in a compact microtower case, 14 inches high by 7 inches wide by 16 inches deep, with eight USB 2.0 ports, the company says. It can be ordered with Intel's processors ranging from a 2.6-GHz Celeron to a 3-GHz Pentium 4, according to the company's Web site.

The base model dx2000 ships with 128MB of DDR SDRAM, and it can hold up to 1GB. The machine is available with hard drives from 40GB to 80GB in capacity, a choice of optical drives, and either Mandrake Linux or the Home or Professional versions of Microsoft's Windows XP operating system, according to HP. The cheapest configuration will cost around $389 in the U.S., the company says.

Longer Lifecycle

HP promises that the other new model, the dc5000, will have a lifecycle of at least 12 months. It is available in two case designs: small form factor and microtower. Like the dx2000, the dc5000 can be ordered with Celeron or Pentium 4 processors running at up to 3 GHz. The dc5000 can be fitted with up to 4GB of DDR SDRAM, a hard drive up to 160GB in capacity, a choice of optical drives, and either Mandrake Linux or Windows XP Home or Professional operating systems, the company says.

The dc5000 will simplify life for IT managers, HP says. Both case designs can be opened and components added or replaced without the need for tools, and the company offers its HP Lifecycle Solutions management tools to help in deploying and maintaining the systems. HP can also notify users of any hardware changes that may affect their software image through its Product Change Notification service, it says.

A bottom-of-the-range dc5000 will cost around $599 in the U.S., HP says.

Eventually, the Palo Alto, California, company wants to guarantee IT managers that they will ship business PCs with a stable platform for at least six months on the low-end machines or 12 to 15 months on the more powerful desktops, Hemphill says. Every time a PC manufacturer upgrades to a new chipset, IT managers need to create new software images of their corporate applications that are loaded onto a PC instead of installing all the applications separately, smoothing the rollout of new PCs.

Updating software images can be a time-consuming process, and maintaining a single image for a set period of time makes an IT manager's life easier, Hemphill says.

Most companies buy new PCs in phases, upgrading certain users while other users stay on the older equipment, says Roger Kay, vice president of client computing at IDC in Framingham.

This means that manufacturers have to keep older technology in the product lineup so corporate customers can complete their rollouts, and maintain their software images. In the short term, this can actually confuse new customers rather than simplifying matters, Kay says.

"You want to have the same platform throughout the rollout period, so one of the things that happens is that [PC companies] are forced to keep products in their lines that are not the latest and greatest. Inevitably, you've got complexity," Kay says.

Shopping Options

The first models in the 2000 and 5000 series are available immediately, directly from HP or through its reseller channels, the company says, although its Web site is not yet taking orders. HP's old d200, d300, and d500 ranges remain available on its Web site.

Models in the 7000 series, which HP says will feature advanced security and service and management features for deployment in corporate networks, will not be available until the third quarter.

The 7000 series PCs will likely feature Grantsdale, Intel's forthcoming chipset with support for PCI Express interconnects and DDR2 memory, Hemphill says. The 2000 and 5000 series PCs will get upgraded to Grantsdale by March of next year, he says.

The dc5000 PC is available in Latin America and Canada, in addition to the U.S., Hemphill says. The dx2000 PC is available worldwide, an HP spokesperson says.

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