• Windows 7 end of support

    No need to say goodbye to Windows 7 just yet

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    Windows 7 had a very good run in the ten glorious years following its introduction back in 2009, but following the discontinuation of support by Microsoft last week, we must finally say a fond farewell to the decade-old operating system. This is not least because by ending support for Windows 7, Microsoft will no longer be providing technical assistance, patches, or software updates, meaning any bugs or security vulnerabilities that still exist within the OS will never be fixed. This makes Windows 7 PCs an attractive and easy target for hackers and cybercriminals.

    It doesn’t have to end this way

    Regardless of the security issues that may be encountered as a result of sticking with Windows 7, there’s been a lot of resistance when it comes to upgrading to Windows 10, which is what Microsoft is encouraging users to do. To some degree, this is understandable – Windows 7 was incredibly popular, and it can be hard to let go of something so familiar to make the leap to something new. With that in mind, we have some great news for steadfast and loyal users of Windows 7 – Extended Security Updates (ESU) are still available for Windows 7 Pro, Enterprise, and Pro for Embedded Systems editions.

    What does this mean?

    Thanks to the availability of ESU, we have the option of extending the support of our Windows 7 machines for up to an additional three years. This means your G2 PC could still be benefitting from Embedded Support in 2023! And while you can still purchase our products with the Windows Embedded Standard 7 service pack until 2024, you won’t receive any security patches without ESU, so we think it’s a complete no-brainer if you’re a dedicated Windows 7 user.

    What’s the catch?

    Windows 7 is already living on borrowed time. Its mainstream support officially ended in 2015, so for the past four years it’s been leeching off Microsoft’s extended support. Now having finally reached its end, there are a lot of issues to circumnavigate. To add to the fact that without any support or security updates your PC is no longer protected, you also won’t get the benefit of any new software or features as these will be incompatible with the OS. Likewise, very few manufacturers now offer Windows 7 drivers with their hardware, so you’ll be restricted to what little is available.

    Maybe it’s time to move on

    Although we’ll still readily offer the option to extend the support of your Windows 7 G2 PC, the argument to consider switching to Windows 10 is compelling. It’s more secure, user-friendly, and agile, and according to Microsoft will likely be the last major release of the OS for a very long time. For that reason, upgrading to Windows 10 alongside an upgrade to your current PC seems like a considerably worthwhile investment.

    If you’d like to know more about how you can enjoy Windows 7 Embedded Support, or are interested in upgrading to Windows 10, please contact one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Ryzen 9 3950X

    Power and productivity made possible by AMD’s Ryzen 9 3950X

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    As we enter 2020, there’s still an overwhelming demand for AMD’s latest Ryzen 9 processor – the 3950X. Officially launched back in November, the chips were snapped up incredibly quickly upon their release, and now trying to track one down is like trying to spot a polar bear in the snow. That in mind, we thought we’d take some time to explain why these processors are proving to be so popular, and why we’re making it a New Year’s Resolution to get our hands on some.

    Awesome raw performance

    The Ryzen 9 3950X comes ready with a sizeable 16 cores and 32 threads, and in spite of delays to its initial release because of supposedly unsatisfactory clock speeds, has a base clock of 3.5GHz and an impressive boost of 4.7GHz. Where the high-end desktop CPU truly excels though is in its ability to manage multi-core workloads and complete complex productivity tasks, which it does with considerable ease.

    How does it compare?

    In terms of its multi-core capabilities, the chip does far better than Intel’s recent i9-9900KS, if only due to the fact it has twice the number of cores and threads. The Ryzen 9 3950X’s Thermal Design Power (TDP) is also that much lower, offering 105W as opposed to 127W, a figure that has the potential to be reduced even further thanks to AMD’s introduction of an ‘eco-mode’. Its predecessor, the 3900X, also doesn’t quite measure up on the cores front, with 12 cores and 24 threads to speak of, and while the 3950X’s base clock is 0.3GHz below the 3900X’s, its boost is now 4.7GHz versus 4.6GHz.

    More news to come

    We’ll have more information on when the Ryzen 9 3950X chips will be available in our PCs over the next month or so, so keep an eye out for any news! In the meantime, if you would like to know more about the AMD CPUs currently supported in our line-up of rack mount and compact PCs, please speak to one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Redundant PSU option makes the 1U PC more reliable than ever before

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    In response to high levels of customer demand over the past few months, we’re pleased to announce the launch of our latest research and development project; the installation of a redundant power supply unit (PSU) into one of our 1U PCs. So far, we’ve added redundant PSU options to our 2U Nano, 2U PC, 3U PC, and 4U Nano, but this marks the very first time a redundant PSU has appeared in one of our 1U units.

    We’ve put even more ‘wow’ into 1U

    Not only is it the first time we’ve made this option available in one of our 1U computers, it is also the most powerful redundant PSU we’ve ever fitted across our entire product range. The 800W monster will see the 1U PC’s reliability increase considerably, ensuring any high-intensity workloads or systems are able to run consistently, even in the face of a single PSU failure. That way, you have the peace of mind that should your unit fail, you’re always protected.

    An extremely versatile PC

    This compact 1U unit packs a punch with lots of exciting features and expansion opportunities:

    • Redundant 800W power supply
    • Dual-width PCI(e) slot suitable for dual-width graphics cards
    • Up to 3x 3.5″ Fixed or 8x 2.5″ Hot Swappable HDD/SSDs – or a mixture of both

    And because this highly configurable PC can also be reverse mounted, if a power failure should occur, the rear of the unit can be made easily accessible, so it’s less likely you’ll need to remove it from the rack in order to rectify the issue.

    The first sample of the new and improved 1U PC with redundant PSU will be arriving soon. If you’d like to learn more about why a redundant PSU option could benefit your 1U unit, then please get in touch.

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

  • Intel Quartz Canyon

    Quartz and Provo Canyon: the next generation of Commercial Intel NUCs

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    Although Intel’s chip shortage is predicted to last slightly longer than we anticipated, there is some silver lining to take comfort in – Intel will soon be launching a new ‘commercial’ line-up of next-generation NUC PCs. While there is plenty of information already available on the upcoming Quartz Canyon NUC, the lesser-known Provo Canyon has been more tightly kept under wraps. Because so little is currently known about it, we wanted to give you a better insight into what to expect from the new NUC to ensure you’re suitably prepared for its release.

    Get reacquainted with the Quartz Canyon

    Before looking into the Provo in any detail, we thought we’d provide you with a quick overview of the Quartz Canyon and why this workstation-specific NUC could be of significant interest. It supports an 8-core Xeon or 9th Gen i7 processor, ECC Memory, and boasts a PCIe expansion slot. A 100W internal power supply is also a notably attractive feature, as is the availability of 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports. We have high hopes the NUC will be fast and furious, offering serious processing capabilities in a small form factor.

    Introducing the Provo Canyon

    The more elusive Provo Canyon also brings a lot to the table, with support for Intel’s latest 8th gen i3, i5, and i7 range of CPUs as well as its own Thunderbolt 3 connector, which could mean super-quick data transfers and a third display output. It’s not short on its sheer number of available ports either, with Dual HDMIs and the Thunderbolt port allowing up to three native connections. What’s especially exciting about this NUC, however, is the fact that it offers extended display identification data (EDID) emulation. For headless, 2nd virtual, and persistent displays, this important feature ensures extended AV signals are optimised and any EDID information is achievable regardless of the cable types involved in your installation, meaning you can more easily match the needs of the display you’re working with. This could really be a gamechanger for audio-visual production environments.

    Not long to wait!

    We’re expecting even more information on Intel’s 8th generation NUCs this month, so watch this space for more news. In the meantime, if you would like to find out more about the next-gen NUCs or discover how our innovation has made it possible to rack mount Intel NUC PCs, please get in touch.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs 3rd gen

    AMD’s 3970X and 3960X Ryzen Threadripper CPUs on sale!

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    AMD’s 3rd generation of Ryzen Threadripper desktop processors has finally arrived, and just in time for Christmas too – having gone on sale at 2pm today. Built using AMD’s 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture, the latest additions to their incredible line-up of CPUs are the 3970X and the 3960X. Both are run with the new TRX40 motherboard chipset, and promise higher clock speeds and improved efficiency and performance to help content creators “realise their creative vision”. The chips will very soon be available within selected models of our products, so for now we wanted to give you a taste of what you can expect from them.

    Power, punch, and PCIe lanes

    Purpose-built to handle lightning-fast creative workloads, there is a lot to get excited about from the new Threadripper CPUs. The 3960X boasts 24 cores and 48 threads with a base clock of 3.8GHz and a boost of 4.5GHz, with its higher-end sibling, the 3970X, offering a massive 32 cores and 64 threads and a base and boost clock of 3.7GHz and 4.5GHz respectively. Most impressive, though, is the availability of up to 88 PCIe 4.0 lanes in both chips, something which makes them ideal for multi-GPU configurations. It’s no wonder that AMD is claiming the 3970X is the world’s most powerful desktop processor, especially with 144MB of combined cache.

    Coming soon…

    Following the official launch of the 3rd gen Threadripper CPUs, AMD will be releasing its flagship 16-core and 32-thread Ryzen 9 3950X chip on 25th November, which has been anticipated for some time. Along with this, AMD has stated they’ll be providing the new Ryzen 3000 processors with a new ‘eco-mode’, wherein you can scale your Thermal Design Power (TDP) back to significantly reduce power consumption. This can even take the 3950X’s TDP down from 105W to 65W, but does come at the expense of some performance. Having said that, AMD has confirmed that the chip can successfully run at 77% standard performance using only 44% of its power.

    AMD Threadripper in G2 PCs

    We’ve already started building the new 3rd gen Threadripper chips into members of our product family, adding to the growing amount of AMD chips already available in our PCs. We even engineered a solution for a customer that allowed the 3970X to consistently run thanks to the introduction of water-cooling components, successfully lowering the 3970X’s temperature and cooling our host 2U PC down to a safe operating range.

    If you would like to find out how to take advantage of the powerful CPUs in a G2 PC, please speak to one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Intel Xe graphics card concept

    Intel’s new Xe graphics cards are on track for a 2020 launch

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    For the past few years, AMD and NVIDIA have indisputably been the ones leading the charge in the graphics card market, but with chipmaker giant Intel soon stepping into the same arena, this could all be set to change. Since their announcement back in August last year, Intel has been working away on its own discrete graphics card dubbed the Xe DG1. However, because they’ve been keeping these graphics cards very close to their chest, as of this moment, we know very little about what to expect from Intel’s upcoming GPUs. Only that we can’t wait to get our hands on them!

    What do we know about the Xe graphics cards?

    The only thing we really know is that it’s very likely we’ll get to see Intel’s Xe graphics cards coming into the fray sometime in 2020. The actual release date is still under a bit of speculation, with some rumours suggesting we could see it as early as June 2020 and some erring on the side of a release much later in the year. Intel’s Senior Vice President of Architecture, Graphics, and Software and former AMD engineer, Raja Koduri teased the launch only last month with a cryptic tweet of a new personalised number plate that read “THINKXE” and an expiry date of June 2020, which may be grounds enough to support the theory.

    A lot of potential and power

    While we can’t pin down anything exact for the time being in terms of the GPU’s anticipated specs, what is possible is that their top end 512 Xe card could end up outperforming NVIDIA’s RTX 1080 Ti, based on some speculative estimates made by the tech enthusiast community, which gives us an idea of anticipated performance. More recently, there’s also been evidence to suggest that Intel is intent on implementing multi-GPU technology with its Xe GPUs. This could enable people to double up on their graphics cards to achieve more power, while creating an easier upgrade path by splitting the cost over two different purchases. It could also mean that anyone using both Intel CPUs and GPUs in tandem could see even greater benefit, as the graphics card would work with the integrated graphics within the processor to aid more complex tasks.

    It’s alive!

    Last week, Intel’s Senior Director of Discrete Graphics and Visual Technologies Marketing and another former AMD employee, Chris Hook tweeted that the discrete Xe graphics cards are “alive!”, having been officially powered on and now in a functional working state. We’re very excited to hear the new GPUs are currently being tested, and are looking forward to seeing exactly what they can do next year. Adding to the good news, Intel has also confirmed they are on track to release their first 7nm GPU in 2021, something we’re equally anxious to see.

    If you’d like to find out more about Intel’s new discrete Xe graphics cards or discover how you can take advantage of the GPUs within our range of Rack and Mini PCs, please get in touch.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • G2 Digital is heading back to Amsterdam for ISE 2020

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    Following our successful trip to Integrated Systems Europe earlier this year, we’re delighted to announce that G2 Digital will be returning to Amsterdam for our second year running as an exhibitor! We had such a fantastic time at the world’s largest AV systems integration show in February that we couldn’t wait to get started on our plans for ISE 2020. As of May 2019, we were also proud to become a member of CEDIA, one of the leading associations for the global audio-visual market, and a co-owner of ISE.

    What to expect

    We’re dialling things up to eleven this year, with an even bigger stand than before in one of the most popular halls at the four-day show. Located in Hall 15 on Stand S282, we’ll be exhibiting among some of the most well-known and respected names in the industry, including technology giant, Google.

    Accompanied once again by our growing range of compact and rack mount PCs, we’ll be giving you the chance to take a rare look ‘under the hood’ of our innovation and gain a better understanding of the build and design process that goes into creating our products. We’re also really looking forward to demoing the impressive high-end graphics capabilities of our brand-new 3U PC for the first time live on the stand. What we’re most excited about, however, is seeing you get better acquainted with our Intel-based Power over Ethernet (PoE) products, the 1U Intel NUC, Fanless NUC, and Bantam. Get ready to discover exactly why PoE is the perfect solution for PC installation.

    ISE just gets better

    Host to 1,300 exhibitors and over 81,000 visitors in 2019, we have no doubt that ISE 2020 will be the biggest and best event to date. We’re thrilled to be heading back to the RAI Amsterdam and can’t wait to show off what our incredible line-up of PCs can do. Registration for the event is now open, so if you would like to join us from 11th – 14th February 2020, contact us and we’ll share our unique code with you to register for free as a G2 guest!

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News