Yearly Archives: 2015

  • Intel 6th gen “Next Unit of Computing” hotly anticipated

    Updated 30/11/2015

    We’re eagerly anticipating the arrival of Intel’s new 6th generation NUC, otherwise known as “Next Unit of Computing”.  As one of our best selling products, we were the first company in the world to rack-mount NUC and haven’t looked back, innovating around the platform ever since its launch in 2013.

    The new 6th generation NUC, powered by a Skylake-based chipset dubbed “Skull Canyon” and “Swift Canyon”, promises to be the most powerful family of NUC’s yet, with various product iterations up to Core i7.  Whilst information is limited at this stage, depending on the model, new features are expected to include:

    • 4K display capability, over mini HDMI 1.4a and mini DP 1.2
    • Purpose-built for Windows 10
    • Superfast 11ac wireless (option)
    • 2 SSD for lightning fast data transfer
    • Intel’s much acclaimed Iris Pro graphics

    The small form factor and powerful capabilities of NUC make it particularly well suited to a host of applications including immersive gaming, content creation, digital signage, point-of-sale and kiosk.

    Expected Q1 2016, we hope to get an early look at the new offering soon, enabling us to begin our own innovation process of continuing to rack-mount NUC as a short-depth, 1U product for specialised computing environments like audio-visual and display media.

    If you’d like to know more about NUC get in touch or take a look at our product line-up.

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

  • New architecture takes to the sky at last

    Updated 27/11/2015

    After a period of well publicised constraint, commonplace when transitioning between architectures, Intel has made progress with availability of Skylake; its latest processor platform.  As such, we’re pleased to announce that we are now shipping a number of our products with the new 6th generation architecture including:

    1U Nano – Workstation Series

    1U PC – Workstation Series

    1U PLUS – Entry Level Series

    2U PC  – Entry Level Series 

    We will soon also be able to offer 6th generation support in our ‘Entry Level’ series once a suitable motherboard becomes available. Unfortunately, the ‘Industrial’ and ‘Performance’ options are based on chipsets that are not due for release yet.

    To learn more about the benefits of choosing Skylake, read our recent blog article.  Alternatively, contact us to speak to one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • ISO 9001: An invaluable achievement for G2 Digital

    Updated 24/11/2015

    We are thrilled to announce that we have now officially achieved the ISO9001:2008 standard and are Quality Assurance approved.

    This Certification recognises that we have demonstrated our products and services are consistently meeting both our customers’ and statutory and regulatory requirements.

    Gaining ISO 9001 means that the Quality Management System we have in place enables us to continually monitor and manage the quality of our products across all of our processes. ISO 9001 confirms that there is rigorous testing on quality, and that Remedial Materials Advice (RMA) is given for any faulty returns that we do receive in order to eradicate any potential faults in the future.

    We believe the achievement will allow us to also become an even more customer-focused organisation. Through our new quality management capabilities we will be able to sustain better customer satisfaction and service by providing for our customers’ needs and expectations through the very highest quality possible.

    The process is one of continual improvement, our approaches becoming more effective and our number of errors being reduced to pave the way for a better performance. This is then tracked by ISO 9001’s managers to make sure that we are keeping on top of our quality care and are always using best practice methodology in order to constantly improve.

    The Certificate is audited annually and is renewed every three years so that you, the customer, can be certain that our quality is always at the forefront of our business.  Contact us to learn more about our ISO 9001 certification.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • The sky’s the limit – new chipset heralds exciting innovation

    Updated 21/08/2015

    Intel’s eagerly awaited 5th Generation Processors were something of a disappointment with delays seeing stock almost unobtainable. Then suddenly we have news that Skylake, Intel’s much anticipated 6th generation desktop processor architecture, is here!

    This is truly exciting news.  This new generation is built on the same 14nm manufacturing process as Broadwell, but whilst arguably Broadwell was a die shrink with a handful of improvements (all be them noteworthy), in contrast Skylake is a full architecture refresh, serving as a “tock” in Intel’s “tick-tock” manufacturing and design model.

    Skylake is built on then new LGA1151 socket which takes existing LGA1150/1155 CPU coolers and brings with it a new chipset dubbed the 100-Series. This heralds increased port flexibility with up to 40% more high-speed I/O and support for PCIe storage including up to four M.2 and two SATA Express connections.

    Intel states that Skylake is its “most significant processor” for a decade, due to its enhanced power efficiency and wire-free capabilities. So what’s so important?

    Graphics

    By far the biggest news is Skylake uses Intel’s well respected Iris Graphics technology. Previously only seen on selected workstations, its powerful capability will give discrete graphics technology something to worry about. Whilst Haswell could drive a 4K monitor at only 30Hz, and Broadwell could drive a single 4K monitor at 60Hz, Skylake is capable of driving three 4K panels at 60Hz.

    Performance

    The CPU core itself is more efficient and able to handle more instructions simultaneously than Haswell or Broadwell CPUs. Skylake also supports faster DDR4 memory modules, but remains backward compatible with DDR3 memory for convenience.

    Power

    As expected this next generation of chip is more energy efficient. Details are limited on just how much, but new features like Speed Shift lets the CPU intelligently change its power state to reduce energy consumption.

    Security

    Intel has introduced SGX or Software Guard eXtensions. SGX is aimed at reducing privileged attacks by malware in a system. SGX works hand in hand with Intel’s Memory Protection eXtensions, which are also designed to build isolated sections of memory to harden defenses.

    The new family of Skylake processors will be available in Intel Core i3 and Core i5 and Core i7 formats, although first shipments are for i7 and i5 only, with i3 to follow shortly.

    We’re very excited about the potential of Skylake and are eagerly awaiting our first batch of processors so we can begin integrating into our products. Watch this space for further news.

    In the meantime, if you have questions surrounding Intel Skylake or its role in our products please contact us.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • Awesome new 2U PC case due any day now!

    Updated 30/06/2015

    We’ve been working on a new 2U PC case, which we’re pleased to announce will arrive any day now.

    Our 2U PC has always offered the most amount of expansion flexibility from our rack mounted PC range, the new case builds on this adding new features including:

    Up to three PCI express x16 full height and full length expansion slots

    House pretty much anything including video cards, network cards, sound cards and RAID cards.

    Up to 6x 3.5” SATA/SAS Hot Swappable HDDs

    Offering greater storage capacity and the ability to replace drives without powering down the machine.

    Up to 16x 2.5” SATA Hot Swappable SSDs

    For more performance than SAS/SATA load your machine with SSD instead and achieve lightening speeds for only a modest increase in cost.

    X99 2011-3 Motherboard Support for 6 -10 Core CPUs 5

    More capabilities and performance for high performance computing tasks like media severing, or virtualised computing.

    Two High Speed USB 3.0 Ports on the Front Panel

    Interconnect devices of your choice using the latest High Speed USB standard, without the need to access the rear of the machine.

    If you’d like to learn more about our new 2U PC please contact us

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • ISO 9001 will reaffirm G2 Digital service quality 

    Updated 25/06/2015

    We’re excited to share that we have just kicked off the process to obtain the ISO9001:2008 standard for our business.

    For those unaware of the standard, it is an invaluable Quality Management System that will help us improve the processes governing how we run our business.  It’s a rigorous set of regulatory requirements, resulting in demonstration and verification that we have robust systems in place covering all aspects of our operation.

    It’s going to be a significant undertaking, but nonetheless is one we believe will really benefit our customers in a variety of ways:

    • Independent acknowledgement we have world-class processes
    • Improved quality and service
    • Right first-time attitude
    • Fewer returned products and complaints
    • Demonstrable commitment to quality

    We’ll keep you posted on progress, but if you’d like to know more in the meantime please contact us.

     

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • G2 joins Intel’s 14nm revolution

    Updated 17/06/2015

    The arrival of Broadwell – Intel’s 5th generation processor architecture heralds the start of their 14nm revolution.

    So why is everyone interested in Broadwell? 

    Well, firstly based on 14nm technology it’s significantly smaller than its 22nm predecessor Haswell.  For a rackmount and mini pc manufacturer like G2 Digital, this presents exciting new opportunities for efficiency advancements.  Essentially, the microarchitecture enables us to achieve the same performance but with 23% lower power consumption than the 4th gen family.

    This isn’t all however.  Broadwell brings the biggest performance increase on graphics capability, although many other noteworthy features will no doubt pique the interest of tech-savvy buyers.

    Intel® Iris™ Pro Graphics

    Intel boasts a massive 2x increase in Graphics performance from the Iris Pro 6200 over the previous HD4600. While still achieving an overall power saving of 23% on the previous processor. It can Achieve 4K video at 60Hz without a discrete graphics card.  Iris Pro graphics is able to decode H.265 and VP9 format videos at a 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.

    Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0

    Automatically allows cores to run faster than the base operating frequency.

    Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology

    Uses processor resources more efficiently, enabling multiple threads to run on each core. The result is improved processor throughput, advancing overall performance on threaded software.

    Intel® Device Protection with Boot Guard

    Prevents malware and other unauthorised software from replacing or tampering with the low-level UEFI firmware required during PC boot-up.

    Intel® RST for PCIe Storage

    Rapid Storage manager now offers support for next generation PCIe storage devices which improves response time by a massive 67% for key tasks like photo editing, video loading and office productivity.

    Importantly, the new 5th generation Core chips also support vPro technology, enabling users to manage PC’s remotely and improve ongoing security posture thanks to baked-in functionality present on the chip and rich control achieved through an Intel provided console.

    The rollout of Broadwell has come with much anticipation after several delays.  We’re pleased to announce that Broadwell is due any day now and will be available across our entire product portfolio, bringing all of the advantages shared above plus many more.  To learn more about Broadwell, start exploring our products or simply get in touch.

     

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • Mount 3 5th Gen NUCs in 1U

    New 1U Rack Mountable NUC case 

    Updated 09/04/2015

    After launching the world’s first rack mount Intel NUC we have continued to innovate the product and now have a new version shipping.

    To accommodate Intel’s motherboard advances we have further developed the bespoke case, while still housing three NUC’s side-by-side in a 1U rack space.  This unique innovation is maintained to make racking the latest 5th Gen NUC modules extraordinarily simple.

    The case upgrade has also brought further enhancements including:

    •  Optional rear mounted 3.5mm Stereo Audio Output, MIC Input and additional USB Port
    • Optional second Gigabit Ethernet Port (4th Gen NUC only)
    • Improved system cooling with optional cooling fan
    • Optional 100W High Output Power Supply

    The new case builds on what has been an exceptionally popular configuration for deploying NUC technology by ensuring the latest iteration of the NUC family is available in this format.

    For more information on our 1U NUC click here, or find out more about our wider range of Rack PC’s.  Alternatively, get in touch to speak with one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • 1U Plus grandMA

    Our new 1U server now shipping! 

    Updated 20/02/2015

    Back in December we announced that our new 1U rack server was available for orders. We’re pleased to announce that the “1U Plus” is now officially shipping and you can find it here.

    To recap, this is our first step into Servers having established a strong heritage in Mini PC and Rack PC products over the last decade.  The 1U Plus is a feature-rich product that delivers great value.  Built from the ground up, we’ve focussed on some of the challenges we believe will be commonplace for our users and tackled them with intelligent design, flexible options and lots of scope for expandability.

    Processor options vary from basic 1150 socket i5 to range topping 2011-3 socket i7 and Xeons.  However, 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.

    The server range comes in three options:

    Workstation – our entry level product, is perfect for everyday workloads and reliability

    Industrial – for those with more demanding requirements and need for greater redundancy

    Performance – a do-anything server for the most aggressive demands

    All are built on a similar technical blueprint as follows however:

    • New X99 Chipset for 6 & 8 Core CPU support
    • Dual PCI express x16 slots for two PCIe cards or Dual Width GFX Cards
    • Two Front USB 3.0 Ports
    • Up to 8x Hot Swap 2.5” HDD and Solid State Drive as standard
    • M.2 Ultra-fast Solid State drive option
    • Sliding Rail Kit option

    Detail on our Server family will shortly appear in the products section of our website.  In the meantime, for more information contact us.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • G2 appliance helps Green Hippo win yet another award! 

    Updated 19/02/2015

    Well done to Green Hippo for scooping yet another design award at the ISE 2015 with their latest magpi solo product. The win marks the ongoing success of their Aviary Video Tools range.

    As a longstanding partner to Green Hippo we have helped them develop various products in their range including the magpi solo, which is built on our latest NUC product.

    While developing our 1U NUC product Green Hippo approached us to discuss the magpi solo for use in their installation market. We could see that our NUC product would be the perfect foundation to build from thanks to features well suited for AV environments, including high resolution video support and multiple audio outputs.  Housed in an ultra-small chassis, with options to rack-mount up to three units in 1U, the NUC offers superb flexibility for the typical AV environment.

    NUC provides a great platform for innovation because of its size and feature-rich design.  The latest Broadwell 5th generation products have now been released and we are currently innovating around the platform to deliver further enhanced features.

    To learn more about our bespoke solutions or to discover more about our NUC products click here.  Alternatively, for more information on Green Hippo’s award win, and the magpi solo product click here.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • 5th generation NUC packs even bigger punch! 

    Updated 17/02/2015

    When Intel released the NUC it was a revolution in ultra-compact PC design.  Likewise, we broke new ground when we were the first company in the world to rack-mount the NUC and enable up to three units to co-exist together in a 1U rack space.

    Intel has now launched the 5th generation Broadwell NUC, which packs even more new features into a familiar ultra-small design.  As such we will be continuing to innovate around the NUC5i5MYHE / NUC5i5MYBE (vPro) and NUC5i3MYHE / NUC5i3MYBE products, taking advantage of the new features.  Support now includes:

    • Intel 5th generation Core i3 and i5 processors
    • Intel HD graphics – 4K resolution and support for up to three monitors
    • Multiple peripheral connectivity including front and back USB ports
    • Internal M.2 SSD plus an additional M.2 slot for WiFI and Bluetooth
    • vPro options to remote manage intelligent computing solutions (NUC5i5MYHE / NUC5i5MYBE)

    The NUC has been successfully deployed in a host of innovative computing environments including digital signage, vending, point-of-sale and content creation, where it’s size versus performance advantages really shine through.

    Helpfully, Intel has committed to 3 year development and production cycles for this new generation of NUC, which gives added peace of mind for those looking to integrate the platform into wider computing solutions.

    We are well underway with developments in our own product line-up to continue offering rack-mount options for the new NUC.  Watch our blog feed for news or for more information please contact us.

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

  • What’s next for SSD and how will it be used?

    Updated 02/02/2015

    In one of our blog posts last month we talked about the gap closing between the cost of SSD and traditional spinning disk.  Only a modest increment in cost delivers comparable capacity, but with vastly greater performance advantages.  And with SSD capacities growing all of the time, the fate of traditional disk looks set.

    The world of SSD is moving as fast as the memory itself. Firstly, there’s different approaches to achieving greater capacities.  Whilst the prevailing trend has been to make di sizes smaller, the likes of Samsung and Intel have decided to buck the trend, going back several di sizes to 40nm (still small, but not as small) with a plan to stack memory.  So, instead of a single layer di, they can stack in multiple layers and achieve advancements in density and therefore capacity this way. This is a move to deliver better economies – using a larger di size they can manufacture their SSD’s much cheaper, but still achieve the same (or possibly better) capacity advancements.

    Where does this leave RAID? Current NAS/SAN arrays are built of multiple spinning drives but if the same capacity could be achieved in a smaller foot print surely the future of the hot swap SATA/SAS interface is limited.

    Then consider the new performance advantages of Ultra M.2 with it’s 10Gb/s interface and you have a new storage media even for large data centres.

    Of course, SSD is effecting data storage, but what else is it impacting?  The really interesting result of SSD (in whichever variant), is the real estate it frees up in the device itself.  With no cumbersome spinning disk gobbling up device real-estate (and power), devices can shrink in size, or have space liberated to incorporate new features, or achieve better performance from other components.

    Likewise, power demands drop dramatically as SSD’s require only limited power to operate, which is good for the pocket and the environment.

    Importantly, SSD’s contain no moving parts so are perfect for use in environments where devices need to be rugged or vibration is likely to be high.  Take a look at the solution we implemented for Landrover which incorporated SSD technology as a key component.

    Lastly, SSD’s omit no audible noise.  This makes them well-suited for noise-sensitive environments – in fact we’ve put this to the test in devices which we have deployed in environments ranging from restaurants to sound studios.

    We’re excited about the opportunities presented by SSD technology.  We are able to incorporate it across all of our products and it is becoming an increasingly vital ingredient in the bespoke solutions we build for our customers.

    If you’d like to know more about the inclusion of SSD in our products or believe the technology could lend itself to a challenge you face, please get in touch to talk further.

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