• New industrial motherboard series offers exceptional reliability!

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    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 , by Geoff Undrell

    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 , by Geoff Undrell

    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 , by Geoff Undrell

    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 , by Geoff Undrell

    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 , by Geoff Undrell

    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

  • Arrival of Skylake spells demise of Haswell and DDR3

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    The delays Intel experienced getting Haswell to market and subsequent availability issues has inevitably led many PC manufacturers to stick with the microarchitecture once it ‘arrived’ and skip Broadwell – it’s more powerful and efficient sibling.  Now, most PC manufacturers (ourselves included) are eagerly anticipating the arrival of Skylake and the significant jumps this promises – claimed by Intel to be the most significant processor upgrade for a decade.  Importantly, we hope Intel has learnt some lessons from Haswell as Skylake holds much promise and it would be a shame for adoption to suffer at the hands of early availability issues like its forefather.

    Life after Haswell…

    What the arrival of Skylake does spell however, is troubled times ahead for users of Haswell.  We are already finding it difficult to source Haswell motherboards and whilst we will be able to offer legacy support for some time yet on Haswell, G2 is still at the mercy of component availability and motherboards are becoming like proverbial hen’s teeth.  Disappointingly, this will have a knock-on effect for customers whose software is dependent on this architecture.  We’d therefore urge any organisations who expect to be tied into Haswell for some time to consider roadmaps and options for their software as early as possible.

    Hello DDR4…

    It’s not all bad news though!  6th generation Skylake is built to use DDR4 RAM and until its advent, this next-gen memory was both expensive and challenging to get hold of.  The Skylake-effect is driving down prices and significantly improving availability as adoption gathers momentum.  The result means changing to the latest systems and running DDR4 RAM can now be achieved with only a modest increase over DDR3.  For the geeks out there, what DDR4 brings is greater chip density thanks to larger DIMM capacities, so more memory can be attached to a single motherboard (theoretically 512GB or four times DDR3) improved data transfer rates (no ceiling has been found on this yet!) and significantly lower power consumption, which is important if the machine is part of a larger deployment when power savings start to mount up and memory stability is critical.  In layman’s terms this means greater data capacity and higher data transfer rates, all at lower voltage and therefore greatly reducing the chances of memory failure, particularly caused by taxing applications.

    If you’re interested in exploring the possibilities of Skylake and DDR4 memory further or want some advice on life after Haswell, please get in touch and speak to one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News