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No. 366, March 2000

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Japanese Companies in the US


COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERALS

Another new benchmark has been established in mainframe processing. HITACHI DATA SYSTEMS CORP.'s System 390-compatible Skyline Trinium Nine Series can support as many as 16 processors, each of which is capable of processing 262 million instructions per second. A fully configured Trinium Nine can crunch nearly 3,000 MIPS, or nearly twice the 1,600 MIPs delivered by reigning champion INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.'s 12-processor Generation 6 mainframe system. HITACHI, LTD. hopes that the availability of the Trinium Nine, which can scale from a two-processor system all the way up to 16 processors, will reverse a precipitous two-year slide in its share of the S/390 mainframe or enterprise server market. The Trinium Nine was scheduled for release last fall. Instead, however, Santa Clara, California-based HDS introduced the 12-processor Trinium Eight Series (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 362, November 1999, p. 3). Although incredibly fast, these machines still allowed IBM to expand sales to financial, communications and other companies looking for bulk capacity to support their e-business activities.

All future Express5800 server, PowerMate desktop and Versa notebook models will be available with MICROSOFT CORP.'s Windows 2000 operating system, NEC COMPUTERS, INC. announced. The Windows 2000 family includes Windows 2000 Professional for desktop and notebook computers and Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2000 Advanced Server.

A year after releasing what it calls a microdesktop for space-constrained settings like call centers, NEC COMPUTERS, INC. introduced the PowerMate 2000. Powered by a 500-MHz Pentium III processor, the build-to-order system offers 64 megabytes or 128 MB of DRAM (dynamic random access memory), upgradable to 256 MB of 100-MHz synchronous DRAM, 6 gigabytes or 12 GB of hard-drive capacity, a 24X compact disc-read-only memory drive, a floppy disk drive, built-in 10/100 Ethernet support, two Type II CardBus PC Card slots and a like number of USB (universal serial bus) connections. Included in the estimated $2,500 price of the base model is a 15-inch TFT (thin-film-transistor) liquid crystal display monitor with a XGA (extended graphics array) resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels.

Still a relative newcomer to the extremely competitive American corporate desktop personal computer market, TOSHIBA AMERICA INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC.'s Computer Systems Group is trying to carve out a niche for its Equium line by emphasizing the lower total cost of ownership that this state-of-the-art equipment can deliver. The latest series is the scalable Equium 7350 platform, which supports Intel processors ranging from a 433-MHz Celeron all the way up to a 733-MHz Pentium III and features Intel's 810e chipset with integrated graphics. An Equium 7350 powered by a Celeron processor starts at less than $750, while a system built around the performance-oriented 733-MHz Pentium III costs as little as $1,250.

In the notebook computer market, however, TOSHIBA AMERICA INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC. CSG ranks as number one. To maintain that standing, the Irvine, California company has several new models in its various lines. In what is known as the desktop replacement segment, TAIS introduced the Satellite Pro 4200 series for small and midsize business customers interested in performance and multimedia capabilities. The Satellite Pro 4280ZDVD and the Satellite Pro 4280XDVD share a 500-MHz mobile Pentium III processor, 64 MB of SDRAM expandable to 320 MB, a slim, all-in-one drive design including a 6-GB hard drive, a 6X digital video disc-ROM drive and a floppy drive, and a USB port and two Type II or one Type III CardBus PC Card slots. The only difference between the two is the size of the TFT LCD display: 15 inches for the Satellite Pro 4280ZDVD, which costs about $2,900 with Windows 2000 Professional, and 14.1 inches for the $2,700 Windows 2000-compatible Satellite Pro 4280XDVD.

For business buyers that want increased performance and enhanced multimedia options but at a lower price, TOSHIBA AMERICA INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC. CSG introduced the Satellite 2675DVD and the Satellite 2715XDVD. The latter pairs a 500-MHz mobile Pentium III processor with a 14.1-inch TFT LCD display for $2,400, while the former, which lists for $2,000, offers a 450-MHz mobile Pentium III processor and a 12.1-inch TFT LCD display. Common features include 64 MB of SDRAM system memory expandable to 192 MB, a combination 6-GB hard drive/4X DVD-ROM drive/floppy drive and one-touch Internet access.

TOSHIBA AMERICA INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC. also continues to cater to budget-conscious business customers, offering them two more choices. Just $1,300 will buy the Satellite 2140XCDS with a 450-MHz AMD-K6-2 processor and a 13-inch Color Bright dual-scan display, while $1,600 will enable the buyer to upgrade to the Satellite 2180CDT's 475-MHz version of the processor and a 12.1-inch TFT LCD display. Both machines come with 64 MB of SDRAM, an integrated 4.3-GB hard drive/24X CD-ROM drive/floppy drive, a USB port and two Type II or one Type III CardBus PC Card slots.

The Windows 2000 Professional operating system also is shipping with three high-performance notebook models from SONY ELECTRONICS, INC. The VAIO PCG-F490K is the firm's equivalent of a desktop, made possible by a 650-MHz mobile Pentium III processor with SpeedStep technology, 128 MB of SDRAM and an 18-GB hard drive. Only slightly lower on the performance scale but $500 cheaper at $3,500 is the VAIO PCG-F480K, which uses a 600-MHz version of the mobile Pentium III with SpeedStep technology and features 64 MB of SDRAM standard and a 12-GB hard drive. Both models have a 15-inch XGA TFT LCD display and a 4X DVD-ROM drive with DVD movie playback capability. The other Sony Electronics' model using the new operating system is the VAIO PCG-Z505HSK SuperSlim Pro, which is just an inch thick and weighs less than 4 pounds. This design does not sacrifice performance, delivered via a 500-MHz mobile Pentium III, 128 MB of SDRAM and a 12-GB hard drive to a 12.1-inch XGA TFT LCD display. It lists at $3,200.

SONY ELECTRONICS, INC. has two other additions to its VAIO 505 SuperSlim Pro notebook line. The $2,500 VAIO PCG-Z505HE draws power from a 450-MHz mobile Pentium III engine and comes with 64 MB of SDRAM, 8.1 GB of hard-drive capacity and a 12.1-inch XGA TFT LCD display. For about $3,000, the cost of the VAIO PCG-Z505HS, buyers can get a 500-MHz mobile Pentium III chip, 128 MB of memory and a 12-GB hard drive, plus the same display as its mate. Both models also include the innovations that have made the VAIO line so attractive to multimedia enthusiasts, such as an iLINK (IEEE 1394) digital interface, a dedicated Memory Stick media slot for quick storage of graphics from cameras, DVgate Motion and Still Image Capture software, and PictureGear software.

The small to midsize business customer or SOHO (small office/home office) user who wants high- performance computing capabilities and the multimedia functionality available in the VAIO line but at a lower price, SONY ELECTRONICS, INC. introduced the VAIO PCG-F420 notebook. The estimated price of $1,700 buys a machine with a 450-MHz mobile Pentium III processor, 64 MB of SDRAM main memory, a 6-GB hard drive, a 4X DVD-ROM drive and a 13-inch display with a SVGA (super video graphics array) resolution of 800 x 600 pixels, plus the VAIO line's noted multimedia and PC networking software and an iLINK port.

FUJITSU PC CORP. has brought the advantages of the Microsoft 2000 Professional operating system to two of its notebook families. Four models in its mainstream LifeBook E Series of business machines have this capability. They are powered by either a 450-MHz mobile Celeron chip or a 450-MHz, 500-MHz or 650- MHz mobile Pentium III processor, the latter featuring SpeedStep technology. All come with 64 MB or 128 MB of SDRAM standard, a 6-GB, 9-GB or 12-GB hard drive, a flexible bay for a modular CD-ROM, CD- ReWritable or DVD drive, and a 14.1-inch TFT LCD display. Support for a wireless infrared mouse and a security panel are new features of the LifeBook E Series models, which start at $2,000. Customers also can choose Windows 2000 Professional on the relatively new LifeBook S Series, a line of ultrathin (about 1 inch) models that weigh less than 4 pounds with their lithium-ion battery. The new system uses a 400- MHz mobile Pentium III processor and provides 64 MB of internal memory, a 6-GB hard drive, an internal flexible bay and a 12.1-inch SVGA TFT LCD display. The LifeBook Application Panel, which has four programmable buttons for launching e-mail and/or software applications, is included in the LifeBook S Series' starting price of $2,300.

The 36-GB disk drives installed in HITACHI DA-TA SYSTEMS CORP.'s Hitachi Freedom Storage 5800 midrange storage subsystem now spin at 10,000 rotations per second. The company calculates that the new drives can improve read performance in transaction-oriented applications by as much as 40 percent compared with the industry-standard 7,200-rpm speed of the previous generation of HDS 36-GB drives. Fully configured, the Freedom Storage 5800, which works with a variety of Unix, Windows NT and Windows 2000 servers, can provide more than 2.5 terabytes of storage capacity in a single 19-inch rack.

For its part, FUJITSU COMPUTER PRODUCTS OF AMERICA, INC. is sampling a line of 10.2-GB-per- platter drives for desktop PCs that spin at 7,200 rpm and feature FUJITSU, LTD.'s new "silent" drive technology. Available in capacities of 10.2 GB, 15.3 GB and 20.4 GB, the high-performance MPF3xxxAH drives have a data transfer rate of 53.9 MB per second and a seek time of 8.5 milliseconds.

Given the interest in its initial CD-ReWritable disc drives, the Disc, Media and Systems Center affiliate of RICOH CO., LTD. introduced the higher-performance Ricoh MediaMaster MP7080 series for home users. The $240 unit combines a 8X CD-Recordable write speed and a 4X CD-RW drive with a 32X CD-ROM read capability. .....The Tustin, California-based unit of RICOH CO., LTD. also released ultrahigh-speed 12X media to support the first 12X CD-Recorders. The American-made multispeed Ricoh Platinum CD-R disc delivers 700 MB of storage or approximately 80 minutes of audio recording, plus a write speed that is as much as 33 percent faster than Ricoh's current 8X maximum discs. Equally important, Ricoh Platinum media is optimized for 1X, 2X, 4X, 6X, 8X and 12X recording. The lower speeds permit high-quality audio recordings, while the faster speeds are geared to large storage applications. A 25-disc pack costs less than $40.

Big ink-jet printer manufacturer SEIKO EPSON CORP. claims to be the first company to introduce a line of printers that can output photographic prints that rival those from commercial photo labs in terms of both quality and longevity. Breakthroughs in fade resistance are key to these claims. The EPSON Stylus Photo 870, EPSON Stylus Photo 875DC and EPSON Stylus Photo 1270, which come standard with new EPSON Photo Inks, also are said to deliver the first continuous edge-to-edge 4 x 6-inch snapshot printing system. Designed for both amateurs and professionals, the three machines range in price from $300 to $500.

The pioneer of computer graphics tablets and electronic pens, WACOM CO., LTD., has launched two products through it Vancouver, Washington unit. The Graphire Pen with Sign-it Plus and Graphire Pen & Mouse with Sign-it Plus combine Wacom's Graphire electronic pen and tablet hardware technology with software from Redwood Shores, California-based COMMUNICATIONS INTELLIGENCE CORP. to provide an easy and secure way to add verifiable electronic signatures and markups to ABODE SYSTEMS, INC. Acrobat PDF (portable document format) files. The pen lists for $100, while the pen and cordless mouse duo go for $120.

An exchange rate of ¥109=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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