Yearly Archives: 2014

  • Is it time to consider SSD over spinning disk? 

    Updated 17/12/2014

    There can be no questioning that SSD is the future of data storage – not only is it attractive because of the near instant latency, dramatic improvements in read and write speeds and enhanced reliability, but the capacity potential of SDD massively outstrips its older spinning disk cousin.  4TB drives have just been announced and 6TB drives are literally round the corner.  Most of the main manufacturers are planning 8TB and even 16TB drives, smashing the 4-6TB limit conventional drives have been restricted to.

    Where does it leave the future of the spinning disk?

    The only real advantage at the moment is cost, as SSD has typically carried a premium, but even that is rapidly being eaten away as SSD becomes much more of a commodity item.  The price gap between the two is narrowing all the time however, and is not far off being on a par.  If you put SSD and conventional disk toe-to-toe now, you’ll be able to compare something of almost identical capacity but with only a small increment in cost for the SSD alternative.  For example a 480GB drive is now only £100 more expensive as an SDD, versus a traditional HDD.  Perhaps a small price to pay for the dramatic performance advantages achieved as a result?

    If you’ve not considered SSD before, talk to us about including it in one of our units, as every one of our products can accommodate this HDD alternative.

     

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Technical Articles

  • Front USB 3.0 Ports added to 1U rack mount PC 

    Updated 15/12/2014

    From 1st December our 1U rack PC will have the option to upgrade the two front of unit USB ports to USB3.0 version.

    USB 3.0 is the next major revision to the Universal Serial Bus (USB) and offers the same plug and play capabilities seen with previous iterations of USB, but with 10x better performance and improved power management.

    USB 3.0 is becoming increasingly popular for our customers hence the enhancement.

    The option therefore makes the 1U PC a great choice for anyone looking for a small, compact rack pc with simple to access USB 3.0 connectivity.

    For more information on our 1U rack pc’s click here, or contact us for more information.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Cool runnings thanks to new fan controller 

    Updated 10/12/2014

    We’ve been working on integrating a new fan controller into some of our more powerful rack and mini PC’s and soon-to-arrive additions to our server range.

    A sophisticated little device, the fan controller will be able to operate from either the 4-pin PWM motherboard CPU fan header or using a pre-programmed temperature probe. It will also be capable of driving up to 3 fans each with its own fine tuning speed adjustment.

    Whilst not revolutionary in itself, some clever componentry will enable us to use much larger fans in our machines as a result, making for greatly improved cooling efficiencies and ultra-quiet operation.  We’re excited about their arrival as they will make our units the perfect companion for working environments where noise sensitivity is important.

    Take a look at the first shots of the controller accompanying this post.

    If you’d like to know more about this innovation or our current product line-up then get in touch.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Front of Nano Mini PC

    Nano PC offers legacy OS Support  

    Updated 08/12/2014

    Despite Windows XP going end of life, there are considerable numbers of businesses who still depend on the operating system.  Whilst Windows XP embedded and POSReady 2009 will remain available for some time, demand for hardware to support these operating systems is still high albeit tricky to source.  An end of life, or a mature OS certainly doesn’t mean you’re now out of options however.

    The perfect solution

    If you count yourself amongst the organisations still with a significant interest in these operating systems then you might want to take a closer look at the C12 specification in our products,  which offers support for XP Pro and also Windows 7.

    The C12 Specification is available across the vast majority of our product range, but is particularly popular in our Nano mini PC appliance. This ultra small form factor PC is perfect for digital signage, Point of Sale and till processing units where XP compatible replacement hardware is required.

    We’ve seen a lot of demand from organisations choosing Nano to host older applications which are too complex, too time consuming or too costly to migrate to a newer operating system.

    To find out more about our Nano PC click here or contact us for further information.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Our 1U Rack Server has arrived! 

    Updated 04/12/2014

    Back in September we blogged that our first-ever 1U rack server would shortly be arriving.  We are pleased to announce that we are now taking orders for the product, which is our first-ever in a brand new server product line.

    When we set about creating the server line-up we had two objectives.  Firstly, to create great value, functionally rich appliances and secondly to build products which offered some acoustic advantages over the competition.  The server line-up will come in three variants – Workstation, Server and High Performance.  With Workstation available first, here’s a closer look at what’s included.

    The Workstation server was developed with media serving in mind.  Available in i5, i7 and Xeon variants, the big differentiator is the 2 x PCI-express 16 slots which offer the capability to fit two PCIe x16 cards or a dual width graphics card.  Unlike other 1U servers which offer something similar, few have the capacity to take full-length cards in this way.  We hope this will pique the interest of professional AV and digital media users and those involved in 3D graphics.  This is one of several expansion options thanks to the Micro-ATX motherboard at the heart of the machine.  8 x hotswappable SSD/HDDs and M.2 also offer huge scope for on-board storage.  Thankfully all of this is packed into a very small user-friendly unit.

    The appliance also has the option for a rack-rail kit which helps with access to the unit and assists when maintenance is required.

    The Server and High Performance ranges are to still to come, both of which will be built using a sophisticated new fan controller we are currently developing for ultra-quiet operation.  The Performance range will also use a LGA2011-3 CPU socket rather than LGA1150 to support the latest 6 and 8 core Intel CPU enhancements to performance.  Both will arrive shortly.

    If you’d like to know more about our server options or would like to discuss your requirements please get in touch.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Green Hippo collaboration yields next-gen hardware

    Updated 10/11/2014

    Our longstanding collaboration with Digital Media and Production specialist – Green Hippo – continues with the release of their latest range of V4 media servers . The 1U variant named “Amba” is as a result of G2 continued commitment to providing innovative and up to date design and features.

    Based on our latest hardware appliance, Amba is the first in their next-generation of computer hardware playing host to their latest V4 Hippotizer software.  A powerful 1U media server for the demands of the audio visual arena, the appliance boasts:

    • Removable drive bay
    • HDMI output, with support for 4K
    • 6 x USB 3.0 ports
    • SSD storage

    We have been building bespoke solutions for Green Hippo for a number of years.  They are one of several customers whom we have purpose-built solutions for to host specific software applications or workloads.  Find out more about creating a bespoke solution by exploring the simple steps we’ll take you through to arrive at something tailor-made for you.  Alternatively, take a look at the other customers who have commissioned us to build host hardware.

     

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • 4th Generation Intel Core i5 vPro NUC only weeks away 

    Updated 21/10/2014

    Intel will shortly launch a new Haswell 4th Generation Intel Core i5 vPro NUC. We’re really excited about this as it will bring well-established vPro technologies such as trusted execution, virtualisation and active management to an already successful platform.

    This presents fantastic opportunities for our business customers looking to improve security, add remote management and explore other productivity-enhancing capabilities for their enterprise environments.  vPro technology helps simplify and accelerate these four critical IT functions.

    Just take a look at this recent video created by Intel showing off some of the collaboration possibilities.

    Specifically, this new NUC will include:

    • Intel 4th Generation Core i5-4300U vPro Processor
    • Internal HD Graphics
    • 2 x mini DisplayPort
    • 2 x USB 3.0 ports on the back place
    • 1 x USB 2.0 port on the front plane
    • Internal support for M.2 SSD card
    • Internal SATA3 support for 2.5” HDD/SSD

    G2 Digital were the first company in the world to rack-mount NUC, enabling three units to be mounted in a 1U slot.  The arrival of the vPro-enabled NUC allows us to pack even more functionality into this highly popular product.

    Take a closer look at our NUC product to find out more.  In the meantime, if you have specific interest in the 4th Generation Intel Core i5 vPro NUC get in touch.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Technical Articles

  • What is M.2 and how is it different from mSATA SSD?

    Updated 16/10/2014

    Essentially, M.2 is a PCI express interface that conforms to an industry specification for small form factor internal drives and PCI express devices.  It is physically narrower than current mSATA devices, but M.2 SSDs can come in much longer lengths where IC space is required to increase storage capacity.

    They are designed for high-performance in space and power constrained devices like tablets and ultrabooks.  Whilst this is where they began life, as prices drop, they are finding their way into desktops and workstations where their performance is favoured over mSATA.

    This new standard holds lots of possibilities as previously the performance of SSD drives was restricted by the legacy SATA drive interface which would allow operation at speeds of around 600MB/s.

    M.2 SSDs are available in two types to access the revamped PCI express interface that supports the current SATA AHCI controller but also a newer standard called SATA NVMe . This newer standard makes performance of 1GB/s easily achievable and with the future release of further enhanced interfaces, 10GB/s will soon be possible.

    The new SATA NVMe standard is essentially a direct connection of the M.2 SSD drive to the PCI express bus, which vastly improves performance because it’s not routed through the slower SATA AHCI Controller on the motherboard.

    Of course, the potential of M.2 is vast, particularly where data intensive workloads exist.  With our heritage in digital content creation and AV applications we believe there is great scope to integrate M.2 into our product line-up and we are actively exploring the opportunities.

    If you have a particular need for M.2 SSD please get in touch as our products move quickly.  Alternatively, a bespoke solution might be the answer to your requirements

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Technical Articles

  • Extreme chipset generation meets our current product line-up 

    Updated 10/10/2014

    Motherboards have now started shipping for Intel’s Haswell-E X99 chipset; their extreme chipset generation, heavily used in the digital content creation space and where over-clocking is required to meet high performance workloads.

    The new X99 chipset is signified by:

    • 10 x SATA 6 Gbps ports natively, with six of those being RAID capable
    • Support for DDR4 memory – up to 64GB
    • Up to six USB 3.0 ports native
    • Thunderbolt ready
    • More possible PCIe configurations
    • New PCIe storage options (SATA Express and M.2 via PCIe) are also supported

    Intel claims that at base clocks, the i7-5960x delivers 20% faster 4K video editing and 32% faster 3D rendering than their previous flagship processor.  Imagine what that can do with the potential to overclock by 31%!

    X99 compatible motherboard are available on a host of our products making them capable of meeting even the most demanding workloads.

    If you would like to know more contact us now or take a closer look at our current products.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Technical Articles

  • intel haswell from intel

    What’s new with the Intel Haswell refresh? 

    Updated 08/10/2014

    We’ve been asked by a number of our customers to clarify what’s new with the latest generation of Intel Haswell processors which have recently been refreshed.  As such we thought it might be useful to post a short comment on our observations.

    To be honest the differences are almost imperceptible with the exception that the frequencies of the chips have been boosted by about 100 MHz over their original Haswell predecessors.  Whilst this does not sound much, the difference in our opinion is noticeable, especially considering thermal output remains the same.  This is even more accentuated at the high end in the Core i7 line-up for extreme computing demands.

    Why would I choose it?

    If you’re looking for performance, the small increment in price for an X97 chip will yield some more horsepower and will give you something extra.  If performance isn’t your main driver then the original iteration of the chip will be more than adequate for the vast majority of applications.

    It’s also worth remembering that older x87 chipsets are compatible with X97 motherboards so if you’re on a previous generation and want to re-purpose into a newer machine, you need not worry.

    If you’d like to know more or have a question about the new Haswell processor family please contact us.  Alternatively, take a closer look at our latest product line-up.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • Rack mounted 1U NUC PC

    NUC goes from strength to strength

    Updated 17/09/2014

    Since we launched the world’s first to rack-mounted NUC mini computer, we have continued to develop what has proved to be a hugely successful product in our line-up.  As such, our 1U rack-mount NUC will soon be available with a host of additional features that present new possibilities and an even richer computing experience from this ultra-small form factor appliance.

    Ready to ship at the end of September, the 2nd generation of our 1U NUC will now come complete with:

    • Option for second LAN port for even greater connectivity
    • Audio input/output for use hosting a wider choice of applications
    • Additional USB port for further interoperability with external devices
    • New internal directional cooling to support greater performance demands
    • A simple blanking plate to give a tidier appearance when racked and spare NUC slots not in use

    This evolving feature set is part of our own product roadmap and commitment to innovating around key Intel technologies.  Likewise, with design, development and production occurring in one UK location, we are proud to be able to respond quickly to customer feedback on our products, enabling us to rapidly enhance what we offer.

    If you’d like to know more about our 2nd generation 1U NUC rack PC please contact us.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • First ever Rack Server arriving shortly!

    Updated 02/09/2014

    Having established an enviable reputation as one the UK’s best independent manufacturers of rack mount and mini PC’s, we have taken the decision to expand our product line-up to now include servers.

    Our first 1U Server product is in development, the prototype of which, will shortly be available for us to share with interested customers. The decision to add servers to our portfolio, like many of innovations and product developments, has been spurred on by customer request.

    The 1U Server is a small, quiet, easy to manage multi-use server appliance.  Our thinking behind the product is to make an appliance equally at home as the host for performance-critical applications that demand more resilience and headroom than is achievable from a rack mount PC, whilst offering flexibility and value for money to host less demanding workloads.

    Inside the box

    The appliance is built on industrialised componentry and shaped by our user friendly design.

    Specifically, the server will come with two PCIe slots accommodating full height and full length PCIe cards, making it capable of serving applications such as 3D graphics, video encoding or networking.

    Up to 8 x 2.5″ hot swappable drive bays makes changing failed or upgrading hard-drives a breeze, without the need to power the machine down.  Likewise, a completely new chassis design that includes a quick remove lid makes access to the appliance straightforward, further gearing the server towards ease-of-use and service simplicity.

    Similarly, as more features continue to move from the motherboard to the processor we’ve also been able to develop the server with support for Micro-ATX server motherboards.  Using these boards inside the case has the potential for a simpler, cooler running and easier to manage system.

    Anyone interested in knowing more about the 1U Server or keen to see the prototype should contact us now.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: Development Projects, News, Products