• Micro C16B

    No-frills machine strikes perfect balance between budget and customisation

    Updated 03/03/2017

    Our Micro C16B is the ideal machine for ground-up customisation. Delivered as a really simple package – we’ll simply supply you with a G2 Micro PC case, motherboard, embedded processor and power supply unit (PSU), and that’s all.  Powerful enough for a host of high definition applications, it’s the perfect foundation to then add your own choice of RAM, HDD, operating system (OS) and WLAN, giving you complete control over which components would most benefit your requirements.

    The Micro C16B is a modest unit – small, agile and unobtrusive, but still boasts a range of great attributes:

    • Fanless, Solid State Design
    • mSATA SSDs
    • 5” HDD or SSD Drive Bay
    • 1x Front USB 2.0 and 4x rear USB ports
    • 60W AC/DC power brick
    • Ultra-low power, A-rated energy consumption

    Developed with sound and space-sensitive environments in mind, its compact design and low-noise operation make it perfect for digital signage implementations and shop front displays.  It can also be easily wall-mounted or else rack-mounted in a 1U rack for your convenience. We’ve even considered your comms cabinet – allowing you to now rack-mount two Micros alongside each other in a tidy 1U space.

    Of course, the other welcomed benefit of this no-frills machine is the cost. For those working to a budget, the Micro C16B offers exceptional value for money, not least because you’ll only pay for what you need, whilst also giving you the opportunity to shop around for the precise components you want to add or even re-purpose those you may already have.

    How you choose to build out your Micro C16B is up to you, but if you’d like some guidance to work out a spec, then get in touch. We’ve experience of a host of project builds that can align this machine to deliver on all sorts of application needs. Alternatively, just speak to one of the team for some more advice.

    To learn more about the Micro C16B click here.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • Intel Kaby Lake

    Intel Kaby Lake kicks clock-speed up a notch, and more besides

    Updated 13/02/2017

    Since the overwhelming successes of Intel’s Skylake architecture last year, the word on everyone’s lips has been ‘What’s next?’ for Intel. We caught only small snippets of information throughout the latter half of 2016, which kept us holding our breath in suspense, until the new Kaby Lake CPU line-up was finally officially introduced at CES 2017.

    So what’s the big deal about Kaby Lake? 

    Like its predecessors, Broadwell and Skylake, Kaby Lake is also built on 14nm technology, and on the surface doesn’t really seem altogether that different to these previous architectures. However, what it has done is dialled its clock-speed up to eleven, making overclocking easy, and has so far demonstrated some really impressive results. Its flagship processor, the i7 7700K is now capable of a base speed of 4.2 GHz and a Turbo Boost speed of 4.5 GHz, even known to comfortably reach new heights of 5 GHz, and beyond. This is driving far greater speed and efficiency across the board thanks to Intel’s Speed Shift technology, even though its performance has stayed still at x86.

    Despite its largely unchanged architecture, there is a lot to look forward to from the advanced features offered by the Kaby Lake line-up.

    Compatible with 6th gen

    Important to note is that Kaby Lake follows Intel’s new Process, Architecture, Optimisation design model, although the processors will be backwards-compatible with their 6th gen ancestors.

    Video media engine

    This new addition to Intel’s processor makes 10-bit content look like a piece of cake. Not only that, but it can also decode Ultra HD video on-chip without affecting battery life – in fact, Intel is claiming a 3x improvement on battery life when decoding 4K on Kaby Lake.

    Intel® Iris Plus 640/650 graphics

    The updated graphics core allows users to stream 4K services with ease, and edit 4K video in real-time. It’s even been suggested by Intel that the 650 will show up to 65% improved graphics performance than the 630, which is great news for those in rich media creation.

    Intel® Optane Ready

    Following the excitement surrounding Intel’s new Optane memory, their next-gen CPUs have an M.2 slot on each board ready for Optane technology, which will act similarly to Intel Smart Response Technology, using Optane as either traditional storage or else to accelerate system performance.

    Support for Windows 10

    As expected, the CPUs are compatible with Windows 10. Following Skylake’s lead, Kaby Lake’s LGA 1151 socket also makes it pin compatible for seamless integration with legacy boards.

    Intel’s Kaby Lake processors have begun shipping, and because of its compatibility with Skylake motherboards we are already integrating them into our own range of Rack and Mini PCs. If you would like to know more about Intel’s new line-up or which of our products will feature it first, just get in touch.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • 7th gen NUC CPUs

    2017 ushers in long-awaited 7th gen NUC for Intel

    Updated 23/01/2017

    We’ve been on the edge of our seats in anticipation of Intel’s new 7th gen NUC line-up ever since they revealed their intentions back in August. There’s already been a lot of speculation and leaked information about what to expect in 2017 from Intel, but thanks to their announcement at CES 2017, we’ve now been given a bit more of a glimpse into their secret world.

    The 7th gen NUCs are now available for pre-order, built with new CPU architectures Intel has dubbed ‘Kaby Lake’ following on from the successes of Skylake. We have also learned, to our great delight, that the disappointment we faced when board-only versions of the 6th gen NUC were dropped is slowly subsiding with the promise that a vPro ‘Commercial’ variant of the 7th gen will be back.

    Here’s what to get excited about from the latest hardware:

    • Intel 7th generation Core i3, i5 and i7 processors
    • Two HDMI 2.0 Outputs for full 4K support
    • Intel Optane Memory ready
    • Support for Windows 10
    • 3 year product lifecycle

    It’s anticipated that the i3 processor NUC models will ship later this month, and the i5 and i7 processor NUCs are due to ship in April.

    The most important thing to note about the new 7th generation NUCs is that a product line for both Commercial and Consumer will be available. Here at G2, we have access to the Commercial line-up which will come as a board-only configuration by itself with a vPro variant specifically designed for Enterprise deployments.

    We’re very much looking forward to the 7th generation NUC to start shipping and can’t wait to start building it into our next wave of machines. As the first company in the world to rack-mount the NUC, our team is poised to continue this innovation.

    If you would like to find out more about what to expect from the 7th gen NUC, please contact us.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • Optane SSD

    Happy New Year from Intel: Optane SSDs arrive in consumer PCs

    Updated 16/01/2017

    By unifying memory and storage into a single component, Intel recently uncovered what we deem to be the Holy Grail of universal memory. Their ground-breaking 3D XPoint technology is set to be a major disruption to storage as we know it, promising to be denser than any DRAM, and faster and better performing than any solid state drive (SSD) available on the market today.

    It may be a while until we see 3D XPoint going mainstream, however, as it is not yet available for public consumption and we don’t anticipate it will be any time soon. Yet there is the possibility of a great start to the year, thanks to Intel and memory technology leader Micron, as they’ve recently started bringing 3D XPoint’s ‘Optane’ SSDs to consumer-grade PCs.

    What we can expect from the Optane drives:

    • Both a 16GB and 32GB version
    • Two PCle 3.0 lanes that exchange data
    • 4GB/s 128KP read and 300 MB/s write performance (16GB)
    • 6GB/s read and 500MB/s write performance (32GB)

    We’ve also already been blown away by the Optane’s speedy capability after Intel released a demo of it in late 2016, when they tested its ability to copy files at an astonishing 1.94 GB per second!

    It doesn’t come without its limitations, though, as Intel continues its push to ensure users are upgrading to their more recent releases. The Optane drives will only be compatible with Intel’s new Kaby Lake processors and their latest CPUs. In fact, it’s very possible that the next-gen Macbook Pro will come with built-in Optane SSDs. It’s likely that Optane will ship within the second quarter of 2017 – definitely something to look forward to this year.

    We’re really excited about this release, as whilst it’s consumer-focused at this stage, it demonstrates the promise of the technology and that Intel has begun to trickle-down Optane into market-available machines.  Naturally, we will be keeping our customers closely informed on Intel 3D XPoint and how it might feature in G2’s future products.

    If you would like to know more about the storage and memory technologies used in our products today, please get in touch.


    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • Microsoft’s upcoming Windows closures may open up some new doors…

    Updated 01/11/2016

    Over the next few months, a number of Windows OEM operating systems will face discontinuation by Microsoft – including Windows XP, 7, 8 and 8.1. The “old” operating systems will no longer be available to purchase through Microsoft OEM channel, however an alternative version is available through Microsoft’s Embedded Program for the foreseeable future.

    Most of the newer editions outlined below are the same operating system as their predecessors, the only difference tending to be the licensing terms. Unfortunately, Microsoft has levied a small price increase on the upgrade to the newer operating systems.

    Many of the newer operating systems share common features with more older editions and importantly are guaranteed to be available for at least another 5 – 10 years.  Take a look at the guide we’ve compiled to help you decide what destination O/S will best suit your needs.

    Current Operating System

    Approx. Last Buy Date New Operating System Notes
    Windows XP Pro For Embedded Systems December 2016 Windows Embedded Standard 2009
    (aka WES 2009)
    Available until 2024.
    Windows 7 Pro OEM January 2017 Windows 7 Pro For Embedded Systems Available until 2024. But there will be a price increase.
    Windows 8.1 Pro OEM October 2016 Windows 10 Pro OEM

    Without wishing to scare anyone into change, in our opinion it’s definitely an opportune time to review your O/S requirements and safeguard the applications important to your business.  Whilst there are still stocks of the old O/S available across the channel, it is only a matter of time before supplies dwindle and change will be forced upon those who are yet to switch.  It’s always better for your migration to a new operating system to occur at a pace that suits you rather than in response to something outside of your control, plus there are some valuable benefits to be enjoyed by refreshing to a newer version.

    If you would like to learn more about what these discontinuations could mean for you, or else find out more about the implications of upgrading to a new Windows operating system, get in touch today.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • Colossal 60 TB SSD breaks new ground in storage market

    Updated 19/10/2016

    A tidal wave of opportunity is on its way for systems manufacturers following August’s Flash Memory Summit in California, as data storage company, Seagate, unleashed the Kraken of solid-state drive storage – their 60 TB SSD.

    This incredible progression from Seagate sees Samsung’s 15 TB revelation of last year dwarfed, as the 4-times-larger 60 TB drive is now leagues ahead as the world’s largest. And Seagate’s ambition doesn’t stop there – they are fully confident that their 3.5-inch form factor design will be able to scale-up to as much as 100 TB!

    As testament to its colossal capabilities, the 60 TB SSD is able to store 400 million photos or an equivalent of 12,000 films. Its high-density form factor is built to support both ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ data, so this data no longer needs to be dealt with separately.

    We’re excited about what we can expect from Seagate’s SSD monster, as early revelations include:

    • Dual-Port 12 Gbit/s SAS interface
    • Micron’s latest NAND flash
    • 150,000 random read IOPS
    • Exceptional power efficiency with 4 TB/watt

    The pricing for the 60 TB SSD has not yet been confirmed, however it is promised that the cost per Gigabyte will be the most economical seen to date. It is speculated that we can look forward to seeing Seagate’s creation breach the surface sometime early next year.

    SSD storage is available across all of G2’s products.  To learn more and see our options take a look at our line-up or contact one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • Intel abandons Xeon processor support for Desktop chipset motherboards

    Updated 22/09/2016

    In a disappointing turn of events, Intel has removed all Xeon processor support for desktop-grade motherboards.  Beginning with the 6th Generation architecture Skylake, Intel will no longer be supporting its Xeon processors on desktop chipsets and will instead run on the newer Skylake C232/236 Workstation architecture.  Intel’s argument for the change is that they offer additional features and performance businesses requiring Xeon CPUs would expect to have.

    Unfortunately, the decision will impact G2 Digital’s current product line-up, where many of our customers require the performance characteristics of the Xeon server processor, but locked into the smaller, more functional chassis of a PC.  Whilst we are doing everything possible to minimise the impact of this on our customers, inevitably it will force uncomfortable decisions over whether to stick with legacy Intel architectures and continue using earlier generation Xeon chips or moving to the current generation of Skylake processors and conceding that Xeon won’t be an option on a desktop-grade motherboard.

    Whilst this is a setback for those of our customers looking for a cost effective Xeon option, we will still be harnessing all of the features and benefits of the Xeon Skylake architecture across both our rack and mini PCs in our ‘Industrial’ Series machines.

    Likewise, we can continue to offer the previous Intel Xeon Haswell processors on our ‘Workstation’ Series.

    If you want to know more about how you can continue using Xeon in our products or want to know more about Skylake, please get in touch with one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

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