In an attempt to cash in on the UK corporate market’s growing appetite for high speed personal computer graphics, NEC Corp has introduced its Image Series of desktops, launched in the US in February (CI No 2,116). These are the first NEC machines to incorporate Newtown, Pennsylvania-based Tseng Labs Inc’s ET4000 W32 on-board accelerator chip […]
In an attempt to cash in on the UK corporate market’s growing appetite for high speed personal computer graphics, NEC Corp has introduced its Image Series of desktops, launched in the US in February (CI No 2,116). These are the first NEC machines to incorporate Newtown, Pennsylvania-based Tseng Labs Inc’s ET4000 W32 on-board accelerator chip (CI No 2,036) on the motherboard. Although there were three machines in the original range, only two have come to the UK. At the top end is the 66MHz Image 466 for the power user with a penchant for complex applications, such as computer-aided design and desktop publishing. A more mainstream product is the 33MHz Image 433, designed for users with a variety of everyday Windows applications. The US’s low-end 80486SX/25 model will not be released in the UK. NEC has used a number of techniques to boost performance. Since the ET4000 accelerator chip rather than the CPU controls graphics throughput, enough processing power is freed up to deal with more complex applications, such as desktop publishing. The chip also incorporates True Color technology, which can display 16.7m colours on a VGA screen. Processing speed is further enhanced by NEC’s OptiBus technology. This increases data transfer rates between the CPU and the integrated input-output subsystems by up to 30%. OptiBus also acts as a local bus for the hard drive, reducing access times. Apart for the graphics processor, the boxes also sport NEC’s ImageVideo, a local video bus that runs at the processor’s external clock speed – this made its debute with the company’s Powermate Series. Finally, ImageSync automatically tunes to the refresh rate of certain NEC MultiSync monitors, providing flicker-free images. The UK Image Series family is based on an Intel Corp full 80486 microprocessor, and incorporates a socket for the Pentium P24T Overdrive chip, when this becomes available. As a result, users will be able to upgrade their machines as necessary. Each box comes bundled with MS-DOS and Microsoft Corp Windows, but options include an on-board 50-pin SCSI 2 host adaptor and cable for extra storage or use of CD-ROM for multimedia applications; and a network card that can be plugged into a 16-bit network adaptor socket. The Image Series is out now, and costs UKP1,735 for the Image 433 and UKP2,175 for the Image 466 with 170Mb hard disks.