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Dell Pumps Up New PCs

Dell has updated its desktop and laptop computing lines to lure more corporate customers, promising better performance, security, hardy designs and services.

The computer market share leader, looking to capitalize on IBM's recent plan to exit computer manufacturing, unveiled the Latitude D410, D610 and D810 notebooks for corporate employees who travel or work from remote locales.

Dell Latitude D610
Dell Latitude D610
Source: Dell

The Latitude D410's battery can last almost all day when configured with an optional, extra nine-cell battery. This extends the machine from five hours with the standard battery, to nine hours with the optional battery, said Alex Gruzen, Dell senior vice president.

Gruzen, speaking on a conference call from New York, said the three new machines meet Dell's goal of offering faster, stronger, smarter machines. Describing the notebooks as having new, "torture-tested reliability," Gruzen said the machines were designed for the hard life they face on the road and at universities.

They come with Intel Pentium M chips, running up to 2.13 gigahertz, and feature PCI Express support, a bus architecture that helps peripherals handle higher performance and speedy connections.

Gruzen said two new security technologies have been added to the mix at a time when concerns about protecting data are high. These include smart card readers and Trusted Platform Module security technology, which is integrated into the system's hardware to provide platform authentication and file encryption on the local drive.

The D410 costs $1,677 to start, while the D610 and D810 (with 15.4-inch screen) cost $1,384 and $1,549, respectively.

Dell OptiPlex GX280
Dell OptiPlex GX280
Source: Dell

Also on Dell's docket today was the announcement of a new desktop design. John Medica, the company's senior vice president, unveiled the "environmentally friendly" OptiPlex GX280.

The desktop is designed to accommodate future Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) mandates from the European Union (EU). The mandate requires electronics manufacturers of products shipped in the EU to either eliminate or minimize their use of chemicals, such as lead.

OptiPlex systems also boast DirectDetect, a diagnostic tool that identifies system status. Available in a desktop or mini-tower form factor, the OptiPlex GX280 runs Intel Pentium 4 and Celeron D processors and costs $737 to start.

In other product news, Dell released the Precision M70 and M20 workstations to accommodate projects, such as design review, demonstration and training. The Dell Precision M70 and M20 feature increased processor and graphics performance, as well as DDR2, the next generation of memory architecture, and PCI-Express. The M70 starts at $2,099 and the M20 starts at $1,649.

Steve Meyer, vice president of marketing for Dell, also unveiled services to save customers time from technology refreshes. Dell's Weekend Notebook Exchange lets customers have data and files transferred to their new notebooks. Myer said clients who ship their old systems to Dell by Friday can have their data transferred and their new system shipped to the customer by Monday.

If a notebook is lost or stolen, Dell will provide customers up to $1,000 if their computer is not recovered within 60 days with the Dell ComputraceComplete Recovery Guarantee.

With its direct business model, Dell continues to lead the computing world in new designs and products by offering prices that many analysts say are tough to beat. prices. The Round Rock, Texas, company has weathered competition well against companies like one-time rival Compaq, as well as Gateway and IBM.