Yearly Archives: 2016

  • 1U PC short depth Front USB3

    New 1U PC now available to order!

    Updated 09/11/2016

    Back in August, we announced that our long serving, 1U PC was due for a make-over. After 8 years as one of our most popular products, it has now received a well-deserved refresh, and the newest incarnation is now available for our customers to order.

    The new-look 1U PC now boasts greater capacity, ramped up performance, and an even simpler, more user-friendly design. The changes we’ve introduced are heavily informed by customer feedback, enhancing the 1U’s capabilities, but maintaining its reputation for balancing functionality with exceptional value.

    The new 1U PC now features:

    • Dual Width Graphics Card in 1U – A wider PCIe bay accommodates dual width GFX cards, allowing us to support a variety of high performance video cards.
    • Greater HDD/SSD capacity – The 1U PC now uses 4 x Hot Swap Bays which can accommodate up to 8x 5” Hot Swap SSD/HDD, or 3x 3.5” HDDs.
    • Even greater power with 300W upgrade – More demanding applications and higher power graphics cards are more readily accommodated by the new 300W power supply.
    • Quieter operation with less fans – Less fans produce less noise, and combined with our improved dynamic speed fan controller, also offer better internal cooling performance.
    • Front USB 3.0 Ports – We’ve introduced 2x ultra-fast USB 3.0 connection ports at the front as standard at no extra cost.
    • Easy to open quick fit lid – This enables easier access to internal components, making maintenance or upgrades far simpler.

    We’re really excited about the next-generation of 1U PC.  The original product marked a very important milestone for G2 in our bid to be one of the best independent rack mount PC manufacturers in the UK and we believe the latest edition continues to set our products apart.

    If you’d like to learn more about the changes to our 1U PC, or else place an order, please get in touch.

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

  • 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

  • Rackmount two Mini PC 1U

    Big news! Our Micro PC is now rack-mountable!

    Updated 16/09/2016

    We’re introducing a big change to our Micro Mini PC, as for the very first time, it’s now available as a rack-mountable machine. The new 1U Micro is a response to customers expressing a desire to have a neat and tidy installation for 19″ comms cabinets.

    We’ve gone one step further however, creating a rack kit that enables two of the machines to be conveniently mounted side-by-side in 1U to maximise space.  The option to rackmount the Micro in this way means the machines can be conventionally deployed alongside other parts of the typical IT estate, making for easier access and simpler management.

    Why is the Micro so popular?

    The Micro is one of our simplest PCs with no moving parts at all.  A small but mighty machine aimed at the digital signage and information display market, it offers impressive features:

    • Fanless PC – No moving parts ensures the machine runs cool and doesn’t require a fan. In turn the machine is practically silent.
    • Compact design – measuring only 187mm deep it’s built for the smallest of spaces.
    • 24/7 HD content playback – with display and signage in mind, these machines are fully capable of non-stop digital playback.
    • High performance mSATA SSDs – ultra-fast data transfer using the latest solid-state disk technology means they’re lightening quick.

    Discover more about the new 1U Micro or to speak to one of our team, please get in touch.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • New 1U Nano retains its crown as our most cost effective rackmount PC

    Updated 08/09/2016

    We’re delighted to reveal that our popular 1U Nano has just been treated to a well-earned refresh. As our shortest 1U PC case to date (measuring just 200mm deep), we’ve simplified the design, enabling us to build in a wealth of new enhancements and achieve an even more attractive price.  As such, the 1U Nano retains its place as our most cost effective rackmount PC, but pleasingly this doesn’t come at the expense of performance – quite the opposite in fact, as the new machine offers impressive credentials compared to its predecessor.  Here’s some of what you can expect:

    • Dual-width graphics card support – This dual slot PCIe x16 expansion bay is capable of taking Dual Width GFX cards.
    • 2x front USB 3.0 ports – A new feature not available on previous models, delivering high-performance connectivity options
    • Hot Swap HDD Bays – The 1U Nano now comes with an optional two bays for 2.5″ HDDs or SSDs.

    Accordingly, the next-generation 1U Nano is set to deliver greater savings, better performance and meet a wider range of deployment scenarios for our customers.

    Available for order now, to learn more about the 1U Nano click here.  Alternatively, get in touch with one of the team for more information.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • New industrial motherboard series offers exceptional reliability!

    Updated 23/08/2016

    Continuing the development roadmap for our successful 1U Plus, 2U Nano and 2U PC products, we are now offering a new Industrial Series which utilises the last Intel Xeon V5 Processors and C236 Chipset.

    This high-performance motherboard offers:

    • DDR4 memory support – latest memory compatibility to boost performance
    • Instant front-panel USB 3.0 – for greater device and peripheral connectivity
    • Support for 6th generation Intel Xeon E3 V5 processors – perfect for those looking to make the jump to Skylake
    • Enhanced safeguards – first-class PC protection including stable power control and over-current protection
    • Intel® vPro™ technology – enabling enterprise-class remote management
    • Multi-GPU Support – for high definition AV experience.

    To explore the board further and how it fits into our product line-up, take a closer at our machines. Alternatively, if you’d like to speak directly to a member of the team, get in touch.

     

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • 1U PC short depth Front USB3

    Our longest serving 1U PC product gets exciting re-work!

    Updated 04/08/2016

    Since its release more than 8 years ago, our 1U PC has become one of the mainstays of our product portfolio. Not only has it been used in countless deployment scenarios, but it has helped us build and sustain our reputation as one of the best independent rack mount PC manufacturers in the UK.

    As ever, we’ve worked hard to incorporate lots of new customer-driven features. Our aim was to make the 1U PC align even closer with the most common use cases our customers are looking to tackle and to deliver greater value than ever in this small form-factor design.  As such, we’re delighted to share some of what’s coming with the refresh.

    • Dual Width Graphics Card in 1U – We’ve created a wider PCIe bay to accommodate dual width GFX cards. This means we can now support a variety of high performance video cards.
    • Greater HDD/SSD capacity – We are now using 4 x Hot Swap Bays which can accommodate up to 8x 5” Hot Swap SSD/HDD. Or 3x 3.5” HDDs.
    • Even greater power with 300W upgrade – A new 300W power supply is available for the more demanding applications or higher power graphics cards.
    • Quieter operation with less fans – We have spent some time testing and analysing the new enclosure and have found less fans are in fact better. Plus our improved dynamic speed fan controller offers reduced fan noise and greater internal cooling performance.
    • Front USB 3.0 Ports – The new model now comes with 2x ultra-fast USB 3.0 connection ports at the front as standard at no extra cost.
    • Easy to open quick fit lid – The 1U PC will now come with a quick fit lid for easy access to internal components making maintenance and upgrades simpler.

    Whilst these are welcomed enhancements, the tried and tested formula that has made the 1U PC such a popular product remain the same.  Customers will still find that the product perfectly blends functional design with exceptional performance.

    There’s a lot to get excited about with the new 1U PC and we’ll be taking orders for it very soon. If you’re interested to know more get in touch, or stay tuned for launch.

     

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • The Holy Grail – universal memory has arrived!

    Updated 08/07/2016

    Continuing our thread of articles (The SSD Evolution)  looking at memory storage, we thought we’d turn our attention to Intel’s breakthrough technology, 3D XPoint.

    It’s extremely exciting, as for the first time, someone is attempting to combine the worlds of system memory and storage memory.  Intel claim that achieving this has been akin to discovering the Holy Grail and as a result they look set to create the first new memory category in 25 years.

    So what’s it all about?

    For system designers, the purpose of a computer is to work with data, so getting that data as close to the processor as possible is critical to achieve better performance.  Unfortunately, NAND flash and even DRAM memory lag significantly behind today’s fastest processors, creating wait time at the processor to perform computational tasks asked of it.  Essentially, both system memory and storage memory have held back the processor… until now.

    Basically, Intel has combined both system memory and storage memory into a single component.  What this means is memory that is big enough and cheap enough to use as storage, but fast enough to use as memory.  Furthermore, the memory is non-volatile meaning it can do its job even without power.

    It would appear this is a pretty major breakthrough, especially when we delve deeper into what Intel claim about this product:

    • 1000 x faster than today’s NAND SSD
    • 10 x denser than today’s DRAM
    • 1000 x the endurance of NAND SSD

    Although similar to flash memory in structure, 3D XPoint uses a Crosspoint Structure which takes the premise of stackable memory one step further. The shattering performance stats will see latency slashed to nanoseconds, something not yet seen on the conventional memory market.

    Whilst we don’t expect to see 3D XPoint memory landing in our machines any time soon, Intel has revealed its plans to release high performance solid state drives based on 3D XPoint memory dubbed ‘Optane’ later this year.  What’s also surprising is their promise of affordability, something we don’t usually see when new memory technology hits the market. This will come as good news to those who demand the highest performance from their servers, PCs or data centre. We can’t wait to see the potential of this new technology first-hand and the application it will have in the development of our systems in the future.

    Like always we will be keeping you updated with how this progresses and continue to share our observations. If you’d like any help understanding 3D XPoint and its future potential please get in touch.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • NUC M.2 Dual Gigabit Gbe Ethernet

    M.2 Dual Port Ethernet Card for Intel NUC is ready!

    Updated 28/06/2016

    Following on from our recent article discussing some of the changes afoot for the 5th and 6th Gen Intel NUC and its absence of a mini-PCIe adapter, we’re pleased to announce we have our very own M.2 Single and Dual Port Gigabit Ethernet card for 5th and 6th Gen machines.

    We’re really excited about the product as it promises all of the functionality our customers have been asking us for including:

    • Single and Dual Port options
    • Gigabit Ethernet Speed
    • Reliable Intel i210 Chipset Controller
    • Integration into our unique 1U NUC case
    • PCI express bus comms standard – not USB!

    For the first time, owners of 5th and 6th Gen machines will be able to add a second (or third) Gigabit Ethernet port to attach a NUC to multiple networks.  We believe this is potentially another world-first after we were the first company ever to rack-mount the Intel NUC in 2014. To know more, please get in touch and speak with one of the team.

    We are also able to sell the Ethernet cards as a standalone item because they are compatible with all 5/6th Gen NUCs or in fact any M.2 2280 size slot. However we do stress that the standard Intel NUC retail cases do not allow space for expansion using this module. Please contact us for a quote if you wish to use it as a standalone item.

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

  • The SSD Evolution

    Updated 15/06/2016

    10 TB 3D NAND is upon us.

    Last year we spoke in detail about the gap between traditional storage and SSD closing significantly. A lot can change in a year, a phrase which appears particularly apt to the world of SSD. Being more affordable, more powerful and with greater capacity, it’s fair to say SSD is playing a major part in ushering out traditional spinning disk storage.

    Previously, we suggested that SSD manufacturers were looking at new ways to increase capacities almost exponentially and that is now becoming a reality.  By adopting Micron’s 3D NAND flash chips and stacking them vertically, Intel has created an affordable 10TB SSD, which they recently announced will be making its way to market later this year. With each of these new advancements we are increasingly seeing a Moore’s Law for storage memory.

    Intel’s new solid state drive promises a huge jump in capacity and performance, yet retaining the same physical footprint – meaning positive impacts on both device size and data centre real estate.  The arrival of the new 3D NAND technology should also signal a lower price per/GB, whilst delivering significant advancements over standard Planar NAND. And if all goes to plan you should be able to reap these cost and productivity gains in the coming months.

    It’s more than just capacity                            

    If anything was holding people back from SSD, some might argue it was the capacity, but really that’s a non-argument now, especially with the arrival of 3D NAND.  Similarly, SSD uses an embedded controller to read and write data and in the early days of their development, write speeds were lower than read speeds leading to gripes compared to traditional disk alternatives. However, the current crop of SSDs offer massive jumps in performance too, offering a far more even performance symmetry – with read and write speeds potentially averaging 580 mps and 500 mps respectively, meaning less time required to store and pull data when you need it.

    The prospect of 3D NAND technology promises even greater read/write bandwidth, I/O speeds and power savings all within the next 12 months. Consequently, it appears 3D NAND will smash previous ceilings on both capacity and performance.  Perhaps its arrival will mark the final demise of spinning disk.

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

     

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

  • Intel scores own goal as 6th gen board-only NUC dropped from roadmap

    Updated 26/05/2016

    It is with much disappointment that we have discovered that Intel will not be manufacturing board-only versions of their 6th generation NUC.  Little has been communicated by Intel, the variant mysteriously dropping off the roadmap for the product.  Despite attempts to qualify with Intel why this decision has been reached, we are yet to receive any good reason for the decision.

    As the leading innovator in the field of NUC, G2 broke new ground when we manufactured the world’s first rack-mount NUC in 2014.  Since then, we have continued to develop what has been a highly successful product for us, which provides a solution to many real-world deployment scenarios.

    Unfortunately, the ramifications of Intel’s decision will be some level of feature loss between 5th and 6th generation products.  Whilst not vast, the primary difference is the ability to use higher performance, more efficient DDR4 memory and the inclusion of Intel Iris graphics which was not present in the previous generation.  Whilst small differences now, if this decision from Intel sticks and board-only NUC options are dropped permanently then the gulf in features will become larger over time.  Inevitably, this will impact many customers who want to use NUC in non-standard configurations and outside of Intel’s preferred NUC kit alternative. It’s especially frustrating when removing boards from NUC kits to potentially achieve a board-only result actually invalidates the warranty as well.  In the meantime, OEMs like G2 will be forced to continue using 4th and 5th generation board-only options to provide innovation outside of the NUC kits Intel is now focussing its efforts on.

    It’s a real shame, but rest assured we will continue to put pressure on Intel in every way we can to hopefully overturn this decision.

    If you’d like to know more about our family of NUC products, why not take a further look here?  Alternatively, contact us to speak further with one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News