by March 31, 1998 0 comments

It started many
years ago.

Remember when Sterling
Computers shook the PC market up with its then ultra-low
low prices for Siva PCs? Full-page ads in newspapers
quoted throwaway prices. For two years they did it,
before finally flopping belly up. Since then, at regular
intervals, one company or the other has unfailingly
stirred up the waters by starting off a fresh round of
price wars. It’s an Industry norm by
now–something like the Kumbh mela.

Round two to PCL, which
announced successively lower prices every month. Though
HCL and Wipro did respond, they did not exactly take the
war into the enemy camp. Potential buyers flocked to
PCL’s doors by the thousands, and as expected, PCL
could not sustain the tempo. Even today we get letters
from those who paid up front then, and are yet to get
their machines.

Much water has flown under
the bridges since then and many assembled systems have
been sold at Nehru Place, Lamington Road and Minto Park.
And as every thing was beginning to look boring and dull
again, here we go at it again. Welcome to the great
Indian PC price wars, version III.

As with the previous
versions, this one also has full-page advertisements
screaming specs and prices. But there is a difference,
and a big one at that. This time, almost all the MNCs in
the market barring Dell and Acer are in the act.

It started off with a
full-page ad from Compaq announcing a hard-to-believe Rs
39,990 price for the DeskPro 1000 (see our March review).
But there was some fine print: “Price excludes a
monitor.” HCL’s response was fast: a full page
ad which said that its price of Rs 39,990 included
a monitor. Soon there was HP informing every one what
they would not get for Rs 39,990 from Compaq.
Digital joined the game with a half-page ad for the 3010,
and Simens-Nixdorf threw in a quarter-page for the Scenic
Pro D5. Even Big Blue India joined in the fun and games
with one that said that their PCs and servers were not
that expensive!

Surely it’s boom time
for the buyer? Yes. But which one is the better deal? Is
it the same specs that all the vendors are offering?

Here’s a comparison
of the specs on offer. (We could not get full details
from IBM and HP).

Item   Compaq
DeskPro 1000
BusyBee P5
VE 4
NixDorf Sceinic Pro D5

CPU Hard

P200 MMX
1.6 GB
3 years limited

MMX*1.2 GB
3 years

P200 MMX
1 year on site

P200 MMX

P200 MMX
2.1 GB
3 years

Software Windows 95 Windows 95,
ClientWorks Network
DMI, Acrobat
Reader, PC Care
Desktop Wellness
Windows 95,
MS Works,
Excell, Schedule+
Windows 95 Windows 95,
Dr Solomon”s
Anti Virus, SNI
diagnostic utility
Others   Spike
buster and
Dust cover included
Samsung MJ
inkjet printer included
Price Rs 49,990 Rs 49,995 Rs 39,990 Rs 50,000** Rs 47,000
Rs 7,000 Rs 3,000 Rs 1,000 NA Rs 2,500
Rs 3,000 Rs 6,000 Rs 1,200 NA Any OEM
(Rs 2,500
Digital has a P200MMX model at a higher price. #
If RAM is bought from same vendor. You may
have the choice of buying RAM elsewhere, subject
to warranty conditions. ** The HP VE4 is
also available at Rs 40,000 without the monitor.
HCL’s price for 14" color monitor in
lieu of monochrome is Rs. 6,750 + taxes; this is
factored in here. The system price here excludes
optionals (network card, extra 16 MB RAM) and

Common Specs:
All PC configurations and prices featured here include
Intel Pentium MMX CPUs, 16 MB RAM, 256
of cache memory, and a 14" color

Obviously computers are
not all made the same.

Read the cover story of
this issue to find out more about what these specs mean,
and what you should go in for.

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.