PC World yesterday announced the launch of its redesigned Advent desktop and portable PC range and showed off a "technology showcase" model it hopes will prove popular over the lucrative Christmas buying period.

First up was the Lifestyle PC (pictured) which is housed in slimline metallic silver casing and comes with a 15in TFT screen and a combined DVD/CD-ROM drive. Powered by a Pentium 4 processor and packed with cutting-edge technologies, PC World hopes its 2GHz machine will satisfy customer demand for "expandability and style" in a sub-£1,000 system.

The high street vendor hopes its new Lifestyle PC will prove as popular as the Lifestyle desktop PC it successfully launched in late 2001. Customer feedback was enthusiastic, with the one criticism being that it had limited expandability, said PC World marketing manager Jeremy Fennell yesterday.

PC World has taken such comments on board and the updated "slim format, book-sized" Lifestyle PC comes armed with a plethora of expansion slots. These include six USB 2.0 ports (two of which are on the keyboard), Memory Stick, PC Card, mini and full FireWire ports as well as PCI slots enabling graphics card upgrades. The technology showcase PC comes with an optical mouse and will retail at £999 including VAT.

The PC vendor also announced its updated Advent range of seven desktops and three notebooks, all of which sport a shiny new look. The chrome-clad models will house up to 1GB of RAM and provide advanced graphics processing thanks to the inclusion of nVidia video cards with as much as 128MB of dedicated memory. PC World intends to ramp up the range's processor speeds to a top rating of 3GHz in time to meet the traditional pre-Christmas PC buying rush.

The high-end desktop PC comes with a DVD rewriter while all new Advents sport keyboards containing two USB ports for left- and righthanded use and to which peripherals such as digital cameras can be quickly and conveniently attached. PC World research found 20 percent of customers cite interest in digital imaging as an important reason for buying a PC.

Research with existing Advent customers prompted the cosmetic changes to the Advent range. Design issues were important to 23 percent of respondents, reflecting the migration of PCs as office-bound functional boxes to mainstream consumer electronics devices.

The new Advent products start at £899 for PCs and £1,199 for notebooks and will go onsale from early November.