• Water-cooled 2U rack PC

    We water-cooled Intel’s i9-9900K in an epic 2U rack PC

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    We know just how important it is to ensure our customers are always getting the most out of their choice of processor – it’s one of the many reasons why we’re constantly developing and refining our versatile line-up of Rack and Mini PCs. A recent example saw us commissioned by our customer Epic Games to engineer a solution that would mean they could run Intel’s flagship i9-9900K CPU at its Turbo frequency of 5GHz for a sustained period of time – a feat that presented some interesting challenges.

    Overclocking is not a game

    A video game and software development company, Epic Games is renowned for many highly successful video games, including the hit sensation Fortnite. Driven by the need for powerful, responsive and stable compute, Epic Games’ initial requirement was for a machine that could achieve a Turbo speed of 5GHz across the first couple of the processor’s cores only. However, the only way to ensure this speed was consistently reached while maintaining stability was by fully overclocking the Intel chip, meaning all cores would need to be activated.

    Playing it cool

    Water-cooling 2U PC

    The drawback of overclocking the CPU to this extent was that it resulted in the processor’s power consumption almost doubling from 95W to 180W. This massive leap caused the host 2U PC to reach temperatures of up to 85 degrees – a mere 15 degrees less than Tjunction, Intel’s recommended maximum. The reason for this surge in heat was largely down to the CPU’s die surface area, which was little more than the size of a stamp. Dissipating the heat from such a small area is tricky, and as such, we knew that the only way of solving the challenge was to introduce water-cooling. By bringing the CPU’s hot surface into contact with a cool, temperature-controlled liquid, we managed to successfully lower the i9-9900K’s temperature and thereby cool the 2U PC down to a safe operating range that wouldn’t exceed 70 degrees.

    An epic solution

    2U PC water-cooled IntelOur solution didn’t just stop at water-cooling, either. Because most off-the-shelf water-cooling components aren’t typically designed for smaller units, their height can be difficult to accommodate. To ensure Epic Games’ solution was able to fit neatly inside a compact 2U PC, we therefore had to reengineer the Alphacool water-cooling parts we had selected by reducing their height while retaining their effectiveness. This perfectly suited Epic Games’ space-sensitive deployment needs. The depth of the case also presented a different challenge – as the 2U PC is a deeper unit, it needed greater airflow to circulate and expel the CPU’s heat. We designed fans specifically to accomplish this task, enabling Epic Games to truly get the most from the i9-9900K. Finally, we kitted the 2U unit out with a redundant power supply, protecting the processor from any downtime due to a power failure. The result of some rigorous testing, the final product was a sophisticated solution that did exactly what Epic Games needed it to.

    If you would like to find out more about how water-cooling could benefit your PC’s CPU, or how we can help you maximise your choice of processor, get in touch with one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: Products

  • CEDIA member

    G2 Digital is now an official CEDIA member!

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    Following our successful debut as an exhibitor at Integrated Systems Europe back in February, we’re now thrilled to confirm that we will be returning to Amsterdam for a second year, and this time as an official member of CEDIA, one of the event’s main sponsors.

    Our CEDIA membership

    With almost 3700 member companies worldwide, CEDIA is the leading global authority for the home technology industry. Becoming a CEDIA member is a great accolade for G2, recognising the specialised rackmounted products we manufacture for residential solutions. From control PCs used for access points or even media servers in bigger properties that augment entertainment systems and lighting displays, we have a comprehensive line-up of technology solutions for use in the home.

    Excited for the future

    As an official CEDIA Trade Supplier Member, we enjoy a wealth of benefits that will no doubt have advantages for our customers in the long run. We’re already very excited for our second appearance at ISE, and with CEDIA’s support behind us are now looking to take our presence at next year’s show to the next level. “We’re proud to have gained CEDIA membership in readiness for ISE 2020,” commented our MD, Chris Hollidge. “Being a member of such a well-respected community is a fantastic acknowledgment of our growing residential business and how we’re helping our customers benefit from home technology.”

    To find out more about what our CEDIA membership means or to learn more about our plans for ISE 2020, get in touch with one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • What the F? Where are the graphics in Intel ‘F’ processors?

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    Intel’s 9th generation Core i5 processors are regarded as some of the most popular CPUs in the world, able to offer incredible performance with the added bonus of integrated graphics capabilities. It would have been safe to assume, therefore, that future releases would be along very similar lines, but Intel has recently thrown a bit of a curveball by revealing the ‘F-series’, a re-worked variation of their existing i5 processors, only this time with graphics removed.

    What are the reasons for this?

    In short, the main motivation for removing graphics is production time. It’s cheaper and quicker to produce standalone CPUs without the integration of graphics. With the well-publicised shortage of Intel processors still taking effect, the move to the ‘F-series’ will enable Intel to better meet the incredible level of demand for their products, while also allowing them to more easily expand their existing chip line-up going forward.

    What does this all mean?

    One obvious implication for those choosing to use to any of the latest ‘F-series’ processors is that you will now have to pair this with a separate GPU. There is an upside, however – without the unwanted influence of additional graphics built into your Intel processor, you can expect a better level of performance at a reduced cost.

    Minus the need for graphics, we anticipate the new 9th generation CPUs will become far more readily available over the coming months once they’ve officially launched. And with the latest Intel i5 CPUs now at a more competitive price and able to meet demand faster, this will mean that the impact Intel’s chip shortage had on our product prices and lead times should soon subside and expectations return to normal.

    If you’d like more information on the latest range of 9th generation Intel Core i5 processors, the ‘F-series’, and how you can enjoy your CPU without built-in graphics in one of our Rack or Mini PCs, please get in touch.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • Intel CPU shortage

    The impact of Intel’s chip shortage is almost behind us

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    In both Q3 and Q4 of 2018, overwhelming demand for Intel’s 14nm processors meant that both consumers and suppliers of products reliant on Intel chips were faced with considerable stock constraints. Now well into 2019, we’re still feeling the effects of the CPU shortage, which only looks set to continue into the next quarter. This does sadly mean that both the prices and lead times of our products are still being impacted, but we are doing everything we can to alleviate this issue for our customers. This may even influence previously issued quotes, so if you have recently received a quote from us for any upcoming projects that involve an Intel chip, please contact us for an updated quote.

    Why is there a chip shortage?

    Intel’s chip shortage is down to a number of different factors surrounding the supply of their 14nm 8th generation processors. Due in large part to a record demand for the CPUs, as well as a delay in the 10nm manufacturing process, this resulted in a significant supply gap in the latter half of 2018 which has since rolled over into 2019. This is likely to be augmented in Q2 ‘19 by an anticipated demand for Chromebooks containing Intel’s lower-end CPUs, which may mean their i3 processors could overtake the highly sought-after i5 quad-core Kaby Lake-R chips as the hardest to get your hands on.

    Things are looking up for Q3 ‘19

    According to DigiTimes research, however, the worst of the shortage may be over by Q3 of this year. Acknowledging that their shift in capacity for high-end processors was one of the causes behind the chip shortage, Intel has been taking steps to address the problem and it’s now predicted that we’ll see a new 14nm capacity expansion of around 25%, which will supposedly mean the end of the issue for good. Likewise, with the data centre boom seemingly almost over, things could be looking up for the supply of Intel’s chips as we move further into 2019.

    It’s always darkest before the dawn

    We’re hoping that the shortage won’t last much longer and are working to ensure this has a minimal impact on our customers’ orders. If you would like to better understand how Intel’s chip shortage will affect the prices and lead times of your G2 order, please get in touch.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Fanless NUC

    ISE saw the launch of our new Fanless NUC

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    The exhilarating atmosphere of Integrated Systems Europe 2019 not only provided the platform for our debut as an exhibitor, but also the official launch of our brand-new Fanless NUC. Having recognised a gap in the market for a fanless variant of the extremely popular Intel NUC as well as a growing demand for this within the audio-visual industry, we’ve built a solution that provides AV and digital professionals with greater flexibility than ever before.

    The many fortes of the Fanless NUC

    The result of an extensive research and development project, the Fanless NUC is a high-performing, compact PC ideal for sound-sensitive installations where controlling noise is crucial. Thanks to the removal of the frequently noisy cooling fan, the unit is rendered practically soundless, running almost silently and with a minimal build-up of heat over time. Being fanless, the PC benefits from one less point of failure, reducing the risk of any internal damage and vastly increasing its reliability. At only 180mm deep, it’s a perfect fit for smaller comms cabinets but can also be rackmounted with ease, our uniquely designed chassis and front panels enabling users to rackmount two of the fanless units side-by-side in 1U. A nifty internal 60W power supply also keeps the PC tidy, condensed, and robust.

    Flexible, feature-rich, and fanless

    The Fanless NUC, although compact, is overflowing with great features:

    • Support for latest Intel 8th Generation i7, i5, and i3 NUC motherboards
    • Industrialised 60W 110-230VAC internal power supply
    • Additional multi NIC capability
    • 1 x M.2 (2280) & 1 x 2.5’’ SSD/HDD
    • M.2 Dual Gigabit Ethernet card
    • Wi-Fi connectivity options
    • Optional RS232 port

    Creating a whole wealth of new possibilities for NUC users, the Fanless NUC achieves something few of our competitors are able to offer. With no moving parts and a ruggedised case, it’s portable, resilient, and highly versatile – an excellent choice for any industrial or more challenging applications.

    If you’d like to learn more about the latest addition to our line-up of compact and rackmount PCs and why it’s ideal for AV and digital media professionals, get in touch with the team today.

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

  • Farewell Amsterdam ISE

    Farewell Integrated Systems Europe, until next year!

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    February 2019 marked the biggest and best Integrated Systems Europe yet, with a record 81,286 attendees and over 1,300 exhibitors, which included our own debut appearance. It was thrilling to be able to exhibit alongside some of the most well-known names in the AV industry, which included the likes of Epson, Bang and Olufsen, Panasonic, Sony, and many more. The four-day show more than delivered on its promise of a complete and utter audio and visual spectacle – from Hall to Hall, walls of enormous screens, titanic speakers, interactive displays, and ground-breaking technologies amazed and astonished visitors from the moment they stepped through the door.

    Intel Fanless NUCSpotlight on our stand

    Our own stand successfully captured the imaginations of many – our unique range of attractive compact and rackmount PCs took centre stage while a feature wall dedicated to our latest Intel-based product, the Fanless NUC, allowed visitors to see its impressive capabilities in action as it powered our 60” TV screen. If you happened to stop by our stand at ISE, you will have no doubt also seen our Pick ‘N’ Mix wall – something which proved very popular among AV and digital professionals! We were really pleased with the outcome of our first time exhibiting at the event, and wanted to extend our thanks to everyone who took the time to visit us.

    AVTV

    Ready for our close-up

    While at ISE, we were delighted to find out that two of our newest products – the Fanless NUC and the Bantam – had both featured in separate editions of the ISE Daily, the event’s main magazine. We also spent some time with AV Magazine, both at their annual cocktail party, and in front of their cameras filming for AVTV! Our very own director, Chris Hollidge, was interviewed to reveal his insights into why our products are such a great fit for AV integrators and what developments we have on the horizon. Watch the final cut here.

    Things that made us go ‘wow’

    ISE never fails to impress us, and this year was no different. We were blown away by LG’s OLED Falls, an absolutely stunning display of AV magic, as well as Epson’s super-cool Epson Vortex, their interactive projected tunnel application. The best by far, however, was Sony’s gigantic Crystal LED screen. 9.5 meters wide, the screen was so high-definition that for a moment we believed we were actually witnessing a live carnival. It stopped us all in our tracks.

    Sony at ISE

    Bring on 2020

    We had an incredible time in Amsterdam, and are really looking forward to doing it all again next year. We’re already full to the brim with ideas for our future stand and have booked our place at the show in readiness, so if you missed us this time around, there’s always 2020!

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • Fanless NUC

    Meet the Fanless NUC – reliable, robust, and resilient

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    Following a recent upgrade to our highly popular 1U NUC PC to provide important support for Intel’s 8th generation i7 NUC motherboard, we are now pleased to also be able to offer our customers a fanless variation to the product. We’ve seen a lot more demand for fanless NUCs, and for good reason.

    Why go fanless?

    Fanless PCs offer even more versatility versus their fan-cooled cousins, and as a result are growing in popularity. While making our NUCs fanless doesn’t necessarily have any particular impact on their core specs or performance, what it does do is offer even more flexibility, expanding the range of different environments they can be used in.

    No noise

    A lot of the noise emitted from your average PC originates from its fan(s). This almost goes without saying, but by removing the fan from a NUC, noise is eliminated and the unit is able to run almost silently. This makes it ideal for sound-sensitive environments or for use in AV production where noise can prove disruptive.

    One less point of failure

    On occasion fans can also malfunction or breakdown because of trapped dust or debris, particularly in industrial applications, which can end up having an adverse effect on the electrical components within a PC. Going fanless eradicates this issue entirely, protecting the machine against dust, shavings, and even water penetration, meaning the risk of damage or downtime to the PC is minimised. The fact that the unit is completely sealed also makes it perfect for use in sterile environments such as hospitals or laboratories.

    Less moving parts

    Minus its fan, the number of moving parts in the 1U NUC is significantly reduced, making it far more robust, resilient, and durable – a ruggedised PC ready for use in more challenging environments. Because the PC is so compact, it also offers flexible mounting options, meaning two fanless NUCs can be rackmounted side-by-side in a 1U space.

    Energy efficient

    Due to the fact that the PC no longer has a fan, the NUC needs to find alternative ways to cool. Because of this, the machine is built to use much less power and consequently generate less heat in order to minimise the energy used to run it.

    If you’re interested in finding out more about the benefits of a fanless 1U NUC PC, then please get in touch.

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