Big Competition in Low Price Points
It may be almost summer, and students are just starting to enjoy their long vacation away from studies, but before we know it, it'll be time to start packing lunch boxes again for the little ones and new PCs for the big ones. Now with the price of PC components dropping and students' needs growing, it's likely a computer may become the new standard high school graduation gift.
A handful of familiar and unfamiliar brands have emerged in the last year or so, with machines priced less than a spring break at Daytona Beach. Even more earth shaking is the recent emergence of a new business model in which computers are provided free to customers who sign up for Internet service.
eMachines, of Irvine, Calif., offers low-end desktop systems at three price points: $399, $499 and $599 (after manufacturer rebates). Completely new configurations are released each quarter to fit the same price points. At $499 they offer the eTower 366C that runs on a Cyrix MII 366MHz chip with MMX, 3.2GB hard drive, ATI Rage 2D/3D graphics board, 56K V.90 modem and MS Works 4.5. A 14-inch monitor can be added for $100.