(Nikkei BP Group)
(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)
| Year-End Sales Season to Feature More Space-Saving PCs
December 7, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Japan's year-end sales season will feature
many space-saving desktop personal computer models released since the
autumn by major PC makers.
|A year ago, only Hitachi Ltd. and Fujitsu Ltd. offered the space-saving
PC models. Hitachi had been focusing on such space-saving models and
Fujitsu offered its Pliche Series.
However, prior to the approaching year-end sales
season this year, most leading PC manufacturers started offering their
own versions of space-saving PCs (See chart).
NEC Corp. announced 10 models in its ValueStar NX series for general
consumers. Of those, eight models are space-saving types. NEC is not
marketing any traditional box-type desktop models, and it reduced the
number of new mini-tower models.
Fujitsu introduced space-saving PCs using a compact main body, in addition
to conventional types with embedded liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors
and all-in-one types.
Also, IBM Japan Ltd., Compaq Computer K.K. and Sony Corp. started selling
such space-saving PCs with an LCD screen.
Space-Saving Models to Dominate Desktop Market
In Japan, where house and office space is often quite limited, huge demand
is seen for small and space-saving PC models. This has stimulated brisk
sales of notebook PCs. However, notebook models are more expensive than
desktop PCs, and thus some general users could not afford to buy them
In the past year an increasing number of space-saving desktop PC models
have been introduced. Many new desktop models are available in part
due to the sharp drop in prices of LCDs in the second half of 1998 as
well as the releases of new microprocessors with better performances.
This has enabled PC makers to offer smaller-sized PCs with specifications
that match the conventional box-type desktop models.
Many industry observers have said that space-saving PCs will soon dominate
the PC market. In the summer, for example, NEC's sales of desktop models
with a CRT accounted for 44 percent of its total sales, desktops equipped
with an LCD monitor (space-saving type) 10 percent and notebook PCs
46 percent, a NEC spokesman said.
"In the future, the percentages will likely be 30 percent for desktops,
30 percent for desktops equipped with an LCD monitor and 40 percent
for notebooks," said Yoshi Takayama, executive vice president of NEC.
"Space-saving models are likely to represent nearly half of sales of
desktop models in the future," said Koyo Matsuo, general manager of
Fujitsu's personal products marketing division.
Fujitsu has seen brisk shipments of conventional box-type desktop models
and micro-tower models.
More Compact LCD Models Available
Some new models carry the space-saving character to extremes, to impress
users with their compact appearance. NEC's boxless model is one such
With the boxless model, the motherboard, CD-ROM drive and a floppy disk
drive are housed in the LCD monitor stand. It looks like an LCD monitor
with a relatively large stand. Although their dimensions are almost
the same, NEC's version appears more compact than Hitachi's Prius.
NEC made its product compact by adopting components designed for notebook
PCs. The boxless model uses an Intel Corp. Mobile Pentium II microprocessor
as well as thin floppy and CD-ROM drives designed for notebook PCs,
and it has a slot for a PC card instead of a PCI slot.
However, the boxless model does not have a motherboard designed for existing
notebook PCs. NEC made a motherboard specifically for the boxless model
utilizing design technology for desktop models.
The disadvantage of NEC's boxless model is its retail price of around
400,000 yen (US$3,300). The price is 50,000 yen (US$410) more expensive
than Hitachi's Prius and other models. Moreover, its price performance
is not as high because it uses a 266MHz Mobile Pentium II microprocessor.
More Models with Celeron Microprocessor
Another trend for the new models released in the autumn and winter is
that more PCs are equipped with Intel Celeron microprocessors.
When the Celeron chip without cache (code name: Convington) was introduced,
only Compaq decided to utilize the chip among major PC makers.
However, a new version of Celeron with a 128-kilobyte built-in secondary
cache is now used by direct-sales PC vendors such as Dell Computer Corp.
of Japan and Gateway 2000 Japan Inc., as well as NEC, Fujitsu and Hitachi.
Among the models released this autumn and winter, more computer makers
decided to utilize the Celeron and the K6-2 of Advanced Micro Devices
Inc. of the United States for their entry-level PC models.
Nikkei Byte selected four models equipped with Celeron 333MHz or 350MHz
K6-2 microprocessors and released since the autumn, and conducted 12
benchmark tests on those PCs.
The test results show that models equipped with K6-2 chips are generally
slightly superior to Celeron 333MHz-equipped models in performance.
Nikkei Byte said that the disparity in performance is attributed to a
difference in frequency at the level of the external bus. The external
bus frequency for the K6-2 is higher than that for the Celeron. On the
contrary, the speed of accessing the secondary cache is slower for the
Not much of a disparity was seen in the overall performance of the PCs
resulting from different performances of their chipsets, the magazine
Chart: History of Dominant Desktop PCs in the Market Sold by Major
Models colored in pink shown in the graph indicate that the models also
have a version with an LCD monitor.
The numbers in parentheses indicate
the models equipped with LCD monitors.
*1) Digital interface for an LCD monitor is standard,
option for a 14.1-in. thin-film transistor LCD monitor.
(return to news)
Related story: NEC
Focuses on Space-Saving Computers, PC Sales Manager Says
(Takayuki Tsurumi, Staff Editor, Nikkei
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