series. Today, in keeping with the release of desktop machines with Power PC technology, they are releasing the PowerBook 5000 and 2000 series, which includes the PowerPC 603e processor, in September. For those who use a Mac at their desktop, the new PowerBooks will be a welcome addition to the office.

The new PowerBooks run at speeds of 100MHz and 117MHz and feature 8MB of DRAM (expandable to 64MB), a 9.5-inch gray scale or 10.4-inch dual-scan or active matrix color display. Users can choose from a 500MB, 750MB or 1GB hard drive. The units also come with a removable floppy drive that can be replaced with a number of third-party peripherals, such as additional hard drives, magneto-optical, removable media drives and internal AC power adapters. Prices for the 5300 series range from $1,799 to $6,299. The price depends on whether it's a gray-scale or color screen and the speed of the processor.

For details on release dates, contact Apple Computer Inc., 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA 95014, or call 408/996-1010.

ROADSTER

This is just a small sampling of notebook computers available to government agencies. There are dozens of other popular brands -- such as IBM's ThinkPad and Dell's line of mobile computers -- that are worth considering.

Procurement officers and information managers planning on a large purchase of any machine should, as Aronson advised, take the machine for a test drive. "Don't go by name alone," he said. "Try it out before you buy it. Although a big name is probably a plus, you don't want to be blind-sided when a faulty product arrives. Base your decision on some kind of criteria or experience and you'll save users a lot of hassle."

Michelle Gamble-Risley is the publisher of California Computer News.

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