PCs, Workstations, and Notebooks
Choice is the name of the game in desktop computing. Although each maker continues
to offer specific product lines, within each family the individual models are
completely customizable. The buyer can choose not only how much power and memory
the new purchase will supply, but also what expansion slots, peripherals, and
drives it will have. The downside of this plethora of options, of course, purchasers
have to compare and contrast even more carefully in order to get the most appropriate
product. For our roundup, we’ve identified models that are suitable for
rigorous use in the instructional setting. Each of these models, with the components
described here, carries a moderate list price depending on options selected.
However, because the options you choose will affect the cost of the model you
buy, we haven’t included prices in the chart below.
HP Workstation xw6000
The HP Workstation xw6000 replaces the Compaq Evo W6000. It features a choice
of preinstalled operating systems: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Microsoft
Windows 2000 Professional, or Red Hat Linux 7.3. With two Intel Xeon processors,
the workstation operates at speeds up to 3.20GHz. Also included is an Intel
E7505 chipset enabling AGP 8X Pro 50, dual-channel DDR SDRAM, 533MHz system
bus, and USB 2.0, up to 8GB of PC2100 ECC Registered DDR SDRAM 266 memory (greater
than 4GB available on Linux only), five bays, five slots, integrated Ultra ATA/100
controller and dual-channel Ultra 320 SCSI controller, integrated Broadcom network
connection; 10/100/1000Mbs LAN data rate, mass storage expandability up to 500GB
Ultra ATA, 438GB Ultra 320 SCSI, or optional 160GB Serial ATA (320GB Serial
ATA available in select regions). An NVIDIA Quadro FX 3000 graphics card is
now available with this workstation.
Contact: Hewlett Packard, Palo Alto, CA; (650) 857-1501;
IntelliStation M Pro
The IBM IntelliStation M Pro is a flexible workstation that is optimized to
the demands of engineers, media creators, software developers, and financial
analysts. Features include a task-tuned 2D/3D graphics and a flexible six slot,
seven bay mini-tower design. Additionally, this package comes equipped with
Pentium 4 processors at up to 3.2GHz, an 80GB hard disk, and up to 1GB of memory.
It comes preloaded with a Windows XP Professional operating system.
Contact: IBM, Armonk, NY; (888) SHOP-IBM; www.ibm.com.
The Silicon Graphics Octane2 is a multimedia workstation capable of interactive
rendering of three-dimensional or volumetric data sets, featuring high-performance
VPro Graphics and 128MB of configurable graphics memory. The combination supports
faster drawing, display, and manipulation of large data sets-up to 1920x1200
pixels at 60Hz. Designed for high performancewith big data, the Octane2 delivers
a measured 448 million pixels per second with trilinear mipmapping and depth-buffering,
and 18 million lit depth-buffered, smooth-shaded immediate mode triangles per
second. The 12-bit per color component path achieves more levels of color to
allow users to see subtle variations-extremely important in medical imaging
and other fields of science and research. Octane2 was awarded the top Platinum
Award from AV Video Multimedia Producer magazine in 2002.
Contact: Silicon Graphics, Mountain View, CA; (800) 361-2621;
Compaq Presario Widescreen Notebook X1000
The Compaq Presario Widescreen Notebook X1000 PC features a high-resolution
15.4-inch wide aspect ratio display that is 20 percent brighter, features 33
percent wider viewing angles, and includes an improved contrast ratio compared
to traditional notebook displays. To meet the needs of multimedia users, the
Presario X1000 is available with ATI’s Mobility Radeon 9200 graphics with
64MB video memory, JBL Pro speakers, and three USB 2.0 ports. Equipped with
Intel Centrino mobile technology, the aluminium-covered Presario X1000 is 1.3-inches
thick and weighs 6.5 pounds.
The Pentium-M processor designed specifically for mobile computing, the X1000
notebook can achieve up to 5 hours of battery life. The notebook’s integrated
Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 LAN card provides the foundation for clear and compatible
connections across 802.11b Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) networks. Optional integrated
Bluetooth wireless connectivity allows users to synchronize and share their
data with other Bluetooth enabled devices, such as HP iPAQ Pocket PCs, HP mobile
printers or cell phones, to create their own personal area networks.
Contact: Hewlett Packard, Palo Alto, CA; (888) 999-4747;
Dell’s new line of notebook computers, the Latitude, offers a silver chassis
and integrated wireless networking technology. Two models—the D600 and
the D800—are good bets for higher education users. An improved layout
provides easy access to the side module bay, and the smart-port location simplifies
cable management. The lightest weight model, the D600, weighs 4.68 pounds. The
D800 weighs 7.0 pounds.
Standard to each model is QuickSet, a customizable software application that
allows users to easily control power management settings, monitor system status,
enlarge icons for high-resolution displays, and more.
The D-family notebooks utilize a bottom docking port, allowing users to elevate
the notebook display to eye-level and making an external monitor optional. They
also include integrated smart card and Gigabit Ethernet capability and dual-band
(2.4GHz and 5GHz) wireless antennas. Bluetooth connectivity is optional. Both
the D600 and the D800 feature come equipped standard with Intel’s Centrino
Mobile Technology, featuring Intel’s new Pentium M processor. Customers
can also choose Dell’s TrueMobile 1300 (802.11b/g) or the TrueMobile 1400
(802.11a/b/g) wireless solution. The D800 features 128MB to 2GB of 266MHz DDR
SDRAM (PC2100) memory and a 15.4-inch screen. The D600 features 128MB to 2GB
of 266MHz DDR SDRAM (PC2100) memory and a 14.1-inch screen.
Contact: Dell, Round Rock, TX; 888-987-3355; www.dell.com.
Gateway 200 and 450 Notebooks
A slim and light notebook for educators needing maximum mobility, the Gateway
200 combines powerful computing with built-in Intel Centrino wireless connectivity.
As the lightest notebook in Gateway’s line at just over four pounds, the
200 features a 14.1 inch XGA screen, Intel Pentium M processor 1.6GHz, 512MB
of DDR SDRAM, a 40GB hard drive and an integrated DVD-R/-RW/CD-RW recorder.
The Gateway 200 also offers a built-in PC card slot, FireWire port, S-Video
port, and two USB 2.0 ports.
Gateway's mid-range 450 notebook blends price, performance, and portability.
With extra-long battery life exceeding four hours, the 450 offers an Intel Pentium
M processor 1.6GHz, 512MB of DDR SDRAM, a 40GB hard drive and modular DVD-R/-RW/CD-RW
recorder (modular means that it can be replaced with other optical drives if
needed). The 450 features two Type II or One Type III PC Card slots, two USB
2.0 slots, one FireWire port, and parallel, serial, and PS/2 slots. The 450
features a 15-inch screen and 64MB of DDR video memory. For educators that need
to stay connected when away from the classroom, the Gateway 450 has an integrated
V.92 56K modem and 802.11b wireless networking featuring Intel Centrino technology.
Contact: Gateway, Poway, CA; (877) 487-1129; www.gateway.com.
HP Pavilion zd/7000
The HP pavilion zd7000 notebook PC is a high-performance wireless notebook that
incorporates a high-resolution 17-inch wide screen display. New HP Image Zone
software allows users to easily find, organize, and share digital photos and
automatically preserves and protects the images. The zd/7000 features an Intel
Pentium 4 processor with HT (Hyper-Threading) Technology and an 800MHz system
bus for improved responsiveness and performance, 128 to 512MB DDR SDRAM memory,
an expanded keyboard with numeric keypad, a 5-in-1 Integrated Digital Media
Reader for fast, easy transfer of images, and support for 802.11g or 802.11b
wireless networking. Bluetooth connectivity is optional.
Contact: Hewlett Packard, Palo Alto, CA; (888) 999-4747;
IBM ThinkPad R40
The ultra-portable IBM ThinkPad R40 weighs 5.6 pounds and comes equipped with
a 1.80GHz Intel Celeron or 1.30 Pentium MGHz processor, 256MB memory and 20-40GB
hard drive. The model promises four hours of battery life. The R40 offers both
Wi-Fi 11b and 11a solutions; customers choose based on their preferences.
The R40’s Access Connections technology simplifies the process of moving
between wired and wireless connections. After users create profiles for the
various places and ways they connect to the Internet, the ThinkPad R40 notebook
detects a wired or wireless LAN connection and switches between these profiles
based on priority or speed. This allows users to move from a home or office
wired LAN connection to a wireless LAN hotspot in the library or conference
room without manually switching profiles.
The ThinkPad R40 notebook provides secure wireless connectivity through the
IBM Embedded Security Subsystem (ESS), which protects users’ personal
data and intellectual property. It also offers the new Access IBM button, a
“portal to IBM support” that taps into a rich set of onboard resources,
diagnostic tools, automated solutions, updates, and online services. Rapid Restore
PC, which provides one-button disaster recovery and restores data, settings
and applications after a software failure, is also featured on the R40. Both
Access IBM and Rapid Restore PC limit downtime, maximizing productivity.
Contact: IBM, White Plains, NY; (888) SHOP-IBM; www.ibm.com.