• 5th generation NUC packs even bigger punch! 

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    When Intel released the NUC it was a revolution in ultra-compact PC design.  Likewise, we broke new ground when we were the first company in the world to rack-mount the NUC and enable up to three units to co-exist together in a 1U rack space.

    Intel has now launched the 5th generation Broadwell NUC, which packs even more new features into a familiar ultra-small design.  As such we will be continuing to innovate around the NUC5i5MYHE / NUC5i5MYBE (vPro) and NUC5i3MYHE / NUC5i3MYBE products, taking advantage of the new features.  Support now includes:

    • Intel 5th generation Core i3 and i5 processors
    • Intel HD graphics – 4K resolution and support for up to three monitors
    • Multiple peripheral connectivity including front and back USB ports
    • Internal M.2 SSD plus an additional M.2 slot for WiFI and Bluetooth
    • vPro options to remote manage intelligent computing solutions (NUC5i5MYHE / NUC5i5MYBE)

    The NUC has been successfully deployed in a host of innovative computing environments including digital signage, vending, point-of-sale and content creation, where it’s size versus performance advantages really shine through.

    Helpfully, Intel has committed to 3 year development and production cycles for this new generation of NUC, which gives added peace of mind for those looking to integrate the platform into wider computing solutions.

    We are well underway with developments in our own product line-up to continue offering rack-mount options for the new NUC.  Watch our blog feed for news or for more information please contact us.

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

  • What’s next for SSD and how will it be used?

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    In one of our blog posts last month we talked about the gap closing between the cost of SSD and traditional spinning disk.  Only a modest increment in cost delivers comparable capacity, but with vastly greater performance advantages.  And with SSD capacities growing all of the time, the fate of traditional disk looks set.

    The world of SSD is moving as fast as the memory itself. Firstly, there’s different approaches to achieving greater capacities.  Whilst the prevailing trend has been to make di sizes smaller, the likes of Samsung and Intel have decided to buck the trend, going back several di sizes to 40nm (still small, but not as small) with a plan to stack memory.  So, instead of a single layer di, they can stack in multiple layers and achieve advancements in density and therefore capacity this way. This is a move to deliver better economies – using a larger di size they can manufacture their SSD’s much cheaper, but still achieve the same (or possibly better) capacity advancements.

    Where does this leave RAID? Current NAS/SAN arrays are built of multiple spinning drives but if the same capacity could be achieved in a smaller foot print surely the future of the hot swap SATA/SAS interface is limited.

    Then consider the new performance advantages of Ultra M.2 with it’s 10Gb/s interface and you have a new storage media even for large data centres.

    Of course, SSD is effecting data storage, but what else is it impacting?  The really interesting result of SSD (in whichever variant), is the real estate it frees up in the device itself.  With no cumbersome spinning disk gobbling up device real-estate (and power), devices can shrink in size, or have space liberated to incorporate new features, or achieve better performance from other components.

    Likewise, power demands drop dramatically as SSD’s require only limited power to operate, which is good for the pocket and the environment.

    Importantly, SSD’s contain no moving parts so are perfect for use in environments where devices need to be rugged or vibration is likely to be high.  Take a look at the solution we implemented for Landrover which incorporated SSD technology as a key component.

    Lastly, SSD’s omit no audible noise.  This makes them well-suited for noise-sensitive environments – in fact we’ve put this to the test in devices which we have deployed in environments ranging from restaurants to sound studios.

    We’re excited about the opportunities presented by SSD technology.  We are able to incorporate it across all of our products and it is becoming an increasingly vital ingredient in the bespoke solutions we build for our customers.

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

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

  • Is it time to consider SSD over spinning disk? 

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    There can be no questioning that SSD is the future of data storage – not only is it attractive because of the near instant latency, dramatic improvements in read and write speeds and enhanced reliability, but the capacity potential of SDD massively outstrips its older spinning disk cousin.  4TB drives have just been announced and 6TB drives are literally round the corner.  Most of the main manufacturers are planning 8TB and even 16TB drives, smashing the 4-6TB limit conventional drives have been restricted to.

    Where does it leave the future of the spinning disk?

    The only real advantage at the moment is cost, as SSD has typically carried a premium, but even that is rapidly being eaten away as SSD becomes much more of a commodity item.  The price gap between the two is narrowing all the time however, and is not far off being on a par.  If you put SSD and conventional disk toe-to-toe now, you’ll be able to compare something of almost identical capacity but with only a small increment in cost for the SSD alternative.  For example a 480GB drive is now only £100 more expensive as an SDD, versus a traditional HDD.  Perhaps a small price to pay for the dramatic performance advantages achieved as a result?

    If you’ve not considered SSD before, talk to us about including it in one of our units, as every one of our products can accommodate this HDD alternative.

     

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

  • Front USB 3.0 Ports added to 1U rack mount PC 

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    From 1st December our 1U rack PC will have the option to upgrade the two front of unit USB ports to USB3.0 version.

    USB 3.0 is the next major revision to the Universal Serial Bus (USB) and offers the same plug and play capabilities seen with previous iterations of USB, but with 10x better performance and improved power management.

    USB 3.0 is becoming increasingly popular for our customers hence the enhancement.

    The option therefore makes the 1U PC a great choice for anyone looking for a small, compact rack pc with simple to access USB 3.0 connectivity.

    For more information on our 1U rack pc’s click here, or contact us for more information.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Cool runnings thanks to new fan controller 

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    We’ve been working on integrating a new fan controller into some of our more powerful rack and mini PC’s and soon-to-arrive additions to our server range.

    A sophisticated little device, the fan controller will be able to operate from either the 4-pin PWM motherboard CPU fan header or using a pre-programmed temperature probe. It will also be capable of driving up to 3 fans each with its own fine tuning speed adjustment.

    Whilst not revolutionary in itself, some clever componentry will enable us to use much larger fans in our machines as a result, making for greatly improved cooling efficiencies and ultra-quiet operation.  We’re excited about their arrival as they will make our units the perfect companion for working environments where noise sensitivity is important.

    Take a look at the first shots of the controller accompanying this post.

    If you’d like to know more about this innovation or our current product line-up then get in touch.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Front of Nano Mini PC

    Nano PC offers legacy OS Support  

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    Despite Windows XP going end of life, there are considerable numbers of businesses who still depend on the operating system.  Whilst Windows XP embedded and POSReady 2009 will remain available for some time, demand for hardware to support these operating systems is still high albeit tricky to source.  An end of life, or a mature OS certainly doesn’t mean you’re now out of options however.

    The perfect solution

    If you count yourself amongst the organisations still with a significant interest in these operating systems then you might want to take a closer look at the C12 specification in our products,  which offers support for XP Pro and also Windows 7.

    The C12 Specification is available across the vast majority of our product range, but is particularly popular in our Nano mini PC appliance. This ultra small form factor PC is perfect for digital signage, Point of Sale and till processing units where XP compatible replacement hardware is required.

    We’ve seen a lot of demand from organisations choosing Nano to host older applications which are too complex, too time consuming or too costly to migrate to a newer operating system.

    To find out more about our Nano PC click here or contact us for further information.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Our 1U Rack Server has arrived! 

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    Back in September we blogged that our first-ever 1U rack server would shortly be arriving.  We are pleased to announce that we are now taking orders for the product, which is our first-ever in a brand new server product line.

    When we set about creating the server line-up we had two objectives.  Firstly, to create great value, functionally rich appliances and secondly to build products which offered some acoustic advantages over the competition.  The server line-up will come in three variants – Workstation, Server and High Performance.  With Workstation available first, here’s a closer look at what’s included.

    The Workstation server was developed with media serving in mind.  Available in i5, i7 and Xeon variants, the big differentiator is the 2 x PCI-express 16 slots which offer the capability to fit two PCIe x16 cards or a dual width graphics card.  Unlike other 1U servers which offer something similar, few have the capacity to take full-length cards in this way.  We hope this will pique the interest of professional AV and digital media users and those involved in 3D graphics.  This is one of several expansion options thanks to the Micro-ATX motherboard at the heart of the machine.  8 x hotswappable SSD/HDDs and M.2 also offer huge scope for on-board storage.  Thankfully all of this is packed into a very small user-friendly unit.

    The appliance also has the option for a rack-rail kit which helps with access to the unit and assists when maintenance is required.

    The Server and High Performance ranges are to still to come, both of which will be built using a sophisticated new fan controller we are currently developing for ultra-quiet operation.  The Performance range will also use a LGA2011-3 CPU socket rather than LGA1150 to support the latest 6 and 8 core Intel CPU enhancements to performance.  Both will arrive shortly.

    If you’d like to know more about our server options or would like to discuss your requirements please get in touch.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products