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A Hard(ware) Bargain

-- by Eileen McCooey

Two leading PC vendors are making a big deal about small business.

Hewlett-Packard recently expanded its hardware offerings for small businesses that don't have an MIS staff, and NEC announced a second generation of systems for what it terms the TOHO market-tiny office/home office businesses with up to five employees.

HP's year-old Vectra 500 line primarily targets companies with five to 20 employees and two to eight systems. The new additions to the line are true back-to-basics models, configured specifically for companies that don't want to pay for unnecessary hardware and entertainment software. The most stripped-down units, pointedly dubbed Business models, don't have CD-ROM drives, modems or sound cards. Higher-end models feature more heavyweight hardware-such as Intel Pentium processors with MMX technology, USB ports and hard drives up to 3.8GB. Prices start at $1,100.

Meanwhile, NEC is expanding its Ready Office line (pictured), which debuted last fall for offices with fewer than five employees, with more powerful and less expensive models. There are three new models-a Pentium 166, a 166 with MMX technology and a Pentium 200 with MMX. The new units sell for about $2,199 to $2,599 (excluding monitors)

Systems include Iomega Zip drives for backup, APC UPS battery backup and surge protector, and diagnostic utilities such as McAfee VirusScan/WebScan, FirstAid Deluxe and Norton Smart Doctor. Communication features provide voice mail, fax and e-mail capabilities, along with easy Internet links. Software geared to SOHO needs-including Office 97 and Peachtree First Accounting-is standard.

Windows Magazine, June 1997, page 56.

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