• Optane SSD

    Happy New Year from Intel: Optane SSDs arrive in consumer PCs

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    By unifying memory and storage into a single component, Intel recently uncovered what we deem to be the Holy Grail of universal memory. Their ground-breaking 3D XPoint technology is set to be a major disruption to storage as we know it, promising to be denser than any DRAM, and faster and better performing than any solid state drive (SSD) available on the market today.

    It may be a while until we see 3D XPoint going mainstream, however, as it is not yet available for public consumption and we don’t anticipate it will be any time soon. Yet there is the possibility of a great start to the year, thanks to Intel and memory technology leader Micron, as they’ve recently started bringing 3D XPoint’s ‘Optane’ SSDs to consumer-grade PCs.

    What we can expect from the Optane drives:

    • Both a 16GB and 32GB version
    • Two PCle 3.0 lanes that exchange data
    • 4GB/s 128KP read and 300 MB/s write performance (16GB)
    • 6GB/s read and 500MB/s write performance (32GB)

    We’ve also already been blown away by the Optane’s speedy capability after Intel released a demo of it in late 2016, when they tested its ability to copy files at an astonishing 1.94 GB per second!

    It doesn’t come without its limitations, though, as Intel continues its push to ensure users are upgrading to their more recent releases. The Optane drives will only be compatible with Intel’s new Kaby Lake processors and their latest CPUs. In fact, it’s very possible that the next-gen Macbook Pro will come with built-in Optane SSDs. It’s likely that Optane will ship within the second quarter of 2017 – definitely something to look forward to this year.

    We’re really excited about this release, as whilst it’s consumer-focused at this stage, it demonstrates the promise of the technology and that Intel has begun to trickle-down Optane into market-available machines.  Naturally, we will be keeping our customers closely informed on Intel 3D XPoint and how it might feature in G2’s future products.

    If you would like to know more about the storage and memory technologies used in our products today, please get in touch.


    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • 1U PC short depth Front USB3

    New 1U PC now available to order!

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    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 , by Geoff Undrell

    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 , by Geoff Undrell

    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 , by Geoff Undrell

    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 , by Geoff Undrell

    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 , by Geoff Undrell

    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