I just read today that Sam’s Club is about to start offering 1.1 GHz Duron PCs running Red Hat Linux for $299.
The machines are beefier than Wal-Mart’s $199 Microtel PCs running Lindows and Lycoris. The machines don’t exactly compete with one another; the 800 MHz Microtel boxes are good enough for word processing and e-mail, and Lindows and Lycoris target users with simple needs. Red Hat targets people with a little more familiarity with PCs, as does AMD. Sam’s is also offering a $399 version with a 2 GHz AMD Athlon XP.

The machines are built by a Kansas outfit called CPUbuilders. The systems utilize a SiS chipset with integrated video. They use PC133 memory and not the newer, faster DDR memory. The 1.1 GHz model comes with 128 megs of RAM and a 20-gig drive; the 2 GHz model has 256 megs and a 60-gig drive. Both have standard amenities like Ethernet, modem, sound, and a CD-ROM drive. The budget model lacks a floppy drive, while the more expensive model has one.

They both appear to be solid, but basic, configurations. It’ll be interesting to see how successful they are in the marketplace.