Hewlett Packard introduced two new Presario-branded 802.11g-equipped notebook computers, along with a new series of Presario desktops, here last week.
Instead of using Intel's new Centrino processor, which is optimized for wireless networking, the Compaq Presario 2500 and 2100 notebook series use Intel's Pentium 4 processor — usually found in PCs — as well as Pentium and Celeron mobile processors. Matt Wagner, HP's notebook product manager, would not say exactly why the Centrino was passed over in favor of the older chips. Instead of taking advantage of the Centrino's embedded wireless capability, the 2500 and 2100 series use a built-in 802.11g card.
"I really can't talk about our Centrino product plans at this point," he said.
These are HP's first 802.11g equipped notebooks. This standard was chosen over the competing 802.11a specification, Wagner said, because of its backward compatibility with the popular 802.11b wireless networks and its greater range.
Wagner said the standard PC Pentium 4 was used in the 2500 because it is being marketed more as a desktop replacement than a truly mobile platform. The Pentium 4 delivers better performance than its mobile cousin, but uses more power and generates more heat, which makes it less portable. The 2100 Series models are intended as true portable devices and use Celeron and Pentium mobile chips.
The notebook lines are available under configure-to-order and pre-configured programs only through HP's in-store kiosks and at its Web site, www.HPshopping.com. Pre-configured models will be on store shelves in the coming months.
The 2100 Series configuration comes with Celeron and Pentium 4 mobile processors between 1.8GHz and 2.4GHz, 128MB to 1.2GB of memory, 14.1-inch or 15-inch LCD, up to a 60GB hard drive and a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive. Pricing starts at $749, after a $100 rebate.
The 2500, starting price $1,098 after $100 rebate, is available with Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz to 2.8GHz processors, 256MB to 1.2GB of memory, 15-inch LCD, 40GB to 80GB hard drive and a combo DVD/CD-RW drive.
HP's newest entry-level PC also was officially introduced last week. The S3000 Series, starting at a suggested retail of $449, after a $50 rebate, has a basic configuration of an AMD Athlon 2200 processor, 256MB of memory, 40GB hard drive, CD-RW drive and a 32MB graphics card. More powerful configurations are available through www.HPshopping.com.