Systemax is introducing a business PC that is 60 percent smaller than a regular desktop and uses half the energy of a conventional computer.

The Venture LT has a 12x3x13in footprint and is priced from $549 to $929. Designed around the Intel 815E chipset, the LT can be configured with Celeron and Pentium III processors up to 1GHz and up to 60GB hard drive. European release is still undecided.

There are four USB (universal serial bus) ports, two front and two back and single serial, parallel and PS2 ports. The LT comes with two full-size PCI slots.

The key to the promised lower power consumption is a 90W power supply, a big decrease from the 150W to 300W power supplies featured in many other PCs.

"On this unit, we can power all the different components using only a 90W power supply," says Richard Leeds, Systemax's chairman and chief executive officer.

One drawback is that the smaller size leaves little, if any, room for other internal components, which also means less upgrading.

Leeds insists that isn't a real problem because of the multiple USB ports. And, unlike some competing compacts, this unit can be custom configured for users who want a DVD, CD-RW or a combo drive.

The consumer version has video-out, super video-out and Firewire built into the unit, which also includes a built-in 56k modem. Both business and consumer models have an upfront infrared port, convenient for synching PDAs or transferring files from notebooks.