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Hewlett-Packard Jumps Into Gaming PC Market

Hewlett-Packard fleshed out its summer product lineup, introducing a high-definition-ready LCD monitor and a dedicated gaming PC, and it gave a sneak peek at LightScribe Direct Disc labeling technology.

At the products were shown during the Home Entertainment Show 2004, held from May 19-20.

The HP f2304 23W-inch high-definition monitor was scheduled to ship on May 30 with a $2,199 suggested retail price. The monitor does not have an integrated TV tuner, but HP is pairing it with the company’s latest Media Center PC system, which is equipped with a tuner and DVR capability. In addition, the monitor can be connected to any external TV tuner.

HP also hyped the monitor’s 16-millisecond response rate as a potential lure for gamers looking for a high-end display.

The Compaq X gaming PC is part of the company’s attempt to battle with AlienWare and the other dedicated PC makers vying for the gamers more interested in playing than putting together their own computer.

An HP spokeswoman said the company knows it cannot attract the extreme players who are likely to build their own PC nor casual players not interested in spending a fortune. However, the Compaq X, available in July through HP’s configure-to-order program, should attract those in the middle, which comprise the bulk of the market.

In order to give the Compaq X additional exposure, the PC was given its first public workout by a group of professional computer game players at the E3 show in early May.

The basic unit will carry a $1,799 suggested retail price, but a fully tricked-out model could push the price near $3,000. The line will be available with a variety of Intel and AMD processors and NVIDIA graphic cards, Windows XP Professional, choice of DVD+RW or DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive, 9-in-1 flash-memory card reader and front- and top-mounted USB ports.

The chassis is designed for easy upgrade with a slide-out motherboard and a side panel that can be replaced with a clear type allowing the brightly lit inner workings to be viewed.

The new LightScribe Direct Disc labeling technology utilizes a standard CD burner laser that has been upgraded to put out a beam capable of burning images onto a specially coated disc. The end user picks or creates a design then, and using the software, which is still under development, burns the image onto the non-recording side of the disc.

HP will license LightScribe to third-party drive and media makers, and the first versions are expected to ship later this year.