HP is expanding its business desktop line, unveiling the first of its new high-end 7000 series and a new line of workstations offering high performance, for a lower price.

The new dc7100 business PC is scheduled to ship in early July and contains two of the newest developements - Intel's 915G chipsets (announced last week along with the 915P and 925X chip sets) and the PCI Express bus.

Meanwhile, the entry-level HP Workstation xm4200 (which starts at $849) and mid-range xm6200 ($1,399) are available now with the high-end xm8200 ($1,799) scheduled to ship in July. All also use new Intel chipsets and the PCI Express bus. The xm6200 and xm8200 also support Intel's new Xeon processors with Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology (EM64T).

Pricing for the new dc7100 PCs start at $849. That entry system has a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 processor with Hyperthreading Technology, a 40GB hard drive, 256MB of DDR SDRAM, Windows XP, and the 915G chipset's integrated graphics. You can upgrade the unit with a PCI Express graphics card, optical drives, up to a 3.6GHz P4 CPU, up to 160GB SATA hard drive, and up to 4GB of RAM. Although the 915G chipset supports faster DDR2 SDRAM, HP has opted not to include this option in its dc7100.

Like previous generations of HP business PCs, the dc7100 comes in a choice of three cases: ultra slim desktop, small form-factor desktop or minitower. The cases have more venting slots in the front to help with heat management. All three have tool-less cases, with easy-to-remove hard drives and expansion cards.

It also comes with Altiris Local Recovery software, which backs up data in a protected partition on the system hard drive, and HP ProtectTools Embedded Security Manager, which covers user authentication, data encryption, and secure communications. HP says the system can maintain a consistent software and hardware image for 15 months.

Back to the workstations: the xm6200 and xm8200 include dual-Xeon CPU configurations with Intel's EM64T and the new E7525 chipset. This combines standard 32-bit processing with 64-bit extensions, which lets users run both 32-bit and 64-bit software, like AMD's Athlon 64 and Opteron processors.

EM64T also increases addressable memory to 256TB; the high-end xm8200 will only offer up to 16GB (with 2GB DIMMs), however. It provides the largest chassis and the greatest level of expandability, with up to 1.5GB of internal storage. Both support DDR2 ECC registered memory and have an 800MHz front side bus.

The entry-level xm4200 comes with the 925X Express chip set, which includes the PCI Express bus, support for DDR2 SDRAM, and support for future EM64T CPUs, when they're available. Today, systems are available with up to a 3.6GHz Pentium 4 CPU and up to 4GB of RAM. It has an 800MHz front side bus and its four-channel integrated SATA RAID controller.