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AST to Market New Notebook Computer

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Opening a second round of competition in the $1.4-billion notebook computer market, AST Research Inc. will begin shipping next week a higher-powered machine using a new microchip from Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

Analysts said AST’s machine is the first of a second wave of notebook computers that will offer nearly the same speed and functions of desktop computers in a machine small enough to fit inside a briefcase.

The AST notebook computer weighs 7 pounds and features a hard-disk drive with 80 megabytes of memory and a microprocessor from AMD that is 25% faster than current computer chips used in notebook computers. The machine will sell for $4,795.

“The 25-megahertz chip is the fastest you can get in a notebook computer without compromising battery life,” said Genelle Trader, an AST marketing director.

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Bruce Stephen, analyst at In

ternational Data Corp. in Framingham, Mass., said the machine is an important addition to AST’s notebook lineup.

In the first half of the year, AST shipped more than 23,000 of its first-generation notebooks, accounting for 9% of total sales and making it among the most successful among the dozens of companies competing in the notebook field, Stephen said.

Most dealers won’t have the AST machines available in large quantities until October, when Conner Peripherals Inc. in San Jose begins shipping its 80 megabyte disk drives.

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