Compaq Computer has entered the low-cost consumer PC market today with the announcement of a US$1000 Presario machine based on a chip produced by Cyrix.
Geared toward first-time PC buyers, the Presario 2100, the first in the 2000 series, will be built around a 133-MHz Cyrix Media GX chip, which Cyrix claims is a lower-cost alternative to Intel's Pentium chip.
In the past, Compaq has been a staunch supporter of the Pentium chip and one of Intel's largest customers. However, the low cost of the Cyrix chip enabled Compaq to "engineer value into the Presario 2000 series," according to officials.
Featuring 24Mb of RAM, a 2G-byte hard drive, an 8X CD-ROM drive and a 28.8Kbit/smodem, the PC is not a stripped-down system, but rather a "full-featured multimedia PC," said Mike Heil, senior vice president and general manager of Compaq's consumer division, in a statement.
The Presario 2100 also comes with integrated stereo speakers and a bundle of productivity and financial software from Microsoft Corp.; a Presario V400 14-inch color monitor is available.
Compaq is hoping that the machine's "sleek, black design that is reminiscent of other consumer electronics products" will appeal to first-time PC buyers and families interested in using PCs for children's education, according to a company statement.
In Europe, the first Presario 2000 PC to appear will be the 2110 model, which differs from the 2100 only in the fact that it has 16Mb of RAM instead of 24Mb, according Iain Bamford, a spokesman for Compaq U.K.
European Compaq executives are aiming the Presario 2110 at a similar market to the one in the US - the first-time home PC buyer, says Toon Bouten, vice president, consumer business for Compaq Europe, Middle East and Africa.
"More than 80% of households in the major European markets still do not own a home PC," Bouten says. Compaq is hoping the low-cost of the Presario 2110 will encourage European users to jump on the home PC bandwagon, he says.
Machines will be available starting next week in the U.S., and in March, in the U.K., France, Germany and The Netherlands. The machines will be manufactured by First International Computer Inc. in Taiwan with final assembly in Austin, Texas, according to First International officials.