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Technology / AI and automation


Network Computing Devices Inc has now replaced its ageing entry-level NCD17c and NCD14c X Window System terminals with three new models, which it claims provide twice the performance, but cost up to 40% less. The Entry Colour X Terminal series the ECX line – comprises a 14 ECX14, costing $1,800 or UKP1,435; a 15 ECX15 priced at $2,000 or UKP1,600; and a 17 ECX17, at $2,600 or UKP1,990. Each provides resolution of 1,024 by 768, includes 4Mb of DRAM, and has a 52,000 XStone rating. They are modular in design, can use a personal computer monitor, and are based on the Motorola Inc 68020 chip – it is likely that the Mountain View, California-based company will move to the PowerPC in future releases, though. The Entry Colour X line also includes a PCMCIA slot for the first time; an integral local file system, supporting up to 20Mb of Flash memory for storing system software, fonts and configuration data; a Centronics-compatible parallel port for connecting printers and scanners; and new boot PROMs, supporting a graphical user interface, which is used to select monitor, network and boot option parameters. The redundant NCD17c and NCD14c, conversely, sold for $4,300 and $2,500 respectively, performed at 35,000 XStones, and had a dedicated monitor, although they did offer the same resolution as the new ones. Network Computing Devices says it is targeting the Entry Colour X family at those customers considering a move to low-end personal computers, who do not want to incur the related administrative overheads, and to those users that are seeking a higher-performance alternative to ASCII or 3270-compatible terminals, without the additional cost.

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