After having reported on the launch of Intel’s new 8th generation offering of processors back in September, we’ve been following this new set of chips ever since. As such, we can now officially say that we have Intel’s 8th gen Kaby Lake-R and Coffee Lake processors available across our entire range of Rack and Mini PC products!
We recently tested these out within our 1U products, which resulted in a very successful integration and led to us being able to include the Core CPUs throughout our ever-growing line-up of machines, including the new 4U Nano and Bantam PC. This integration is, though, currently limited to our Workstation series of units and so will only be available on certain motherboards.
What to expect from 8th gen
From their flagship i7-8700k CPU to the latest i3 chips, we’ve got a diverse selection of Intel’s 8th gen processing options ready to be fitted into your ideal G2 PC.
The i7-8700k promises even greater efficiency than its predecessors and a serious leap in performance, with an impressive 6 cores and 12 threads to speak of. Similarly, the i3 processors now boast 4 cores – a big step up from 7th gen’s 2 cores; we’ll shortly be adding these to our build list. This boom has meant that the 8th gen CPUs are much faster, with the i7 and i5 chips in particular showing a 40% improvement in performance when compared to 7th gen. This upsurge is mostly a result of the new CPUs being quad-core instead of dual-core, which is proving to be a welcomed change.
We’re excited about what Intel’s latest processors are bringing to our Rack and Mini PC Workstation series. If you would like to learn more about the new 8th gen chips, or find out how you can get your hands on one within our machines, get in touch with one of the team.
We’ve been seeing a growing amount of interest in our 2U Nano rackmount PC, particularly from our AV and digital media customers, to host popular real-time rendering software, Notch. We’re frequently commissioned to create custom configurations of our rack and mini PC product range to accommodate a variety of different visual and audio programs, including video production software, vMix, and lighting software, grandMA, and more recently Notch has been added to that list. An intuitive all-in-one tool for creating interactive and live video effects, Notch is widely used throughout the music industry for artists such as U2, Kasabian, Ed Sheeran, and even The Beatles, as well as for digital spectacles created by the likes of Disney and Cirque du Soleil.
Why the 2U Nano for Notch?
Our 2U Nano rackmount PC is the ideal machine for running Notch. Earlier this year we interviewed Lewis Kyle White, director of Pixels & Noise, a content and visual design company who are currently using one of our 2U Nanos as a Notch-specific unit. The main reason the company found the rack PC such an attractive prospect for hosting the software was due to its form factor. The 2U Nano’s ultra-short-depth 370mm chassis makes it perfect for travelling between different audio-visual events and shows, as it fits so neatly into flight cases, being half the depth of standard media servers. This allows space to be maximised for other equipment, and due to its shallowness and rackmounting options, can be applied to more permanent, space-sensitive installations.
It’s also an extremely versatile machine, so can be modified specifically to optimise Notch’s capabilities, whether that’s power, performance, or a more practical application such as Wi-Fi connection. The 2U Nano’s rubber-mounted internal cooling fan and ultra-low noise power supply mean it’s completely non-disruptive when in use, too, being near silent at 34dBA, so is barely noticeable during shows and show rehearsals, even when it’s working hard.
Great for graphics
As Notch’s render engine is known for “utilising the GPU to its fullest”, it demands powerful graphics cards to harness its full potential. With up to 4x PCIe x16 slots, our 2U Nano has more than enough room for only the best graphics capability, and then some. What’s more, we’re fully aware that getting hold of the right graphics cards to fit your chosen case isn’t easy, as the measurements you’re working with could make certain cards completely redundant – that’s why we consider every single detail when advising which card will work best, to help you pick out the most suitable graphics option for your case before you buy. Likewise, if a particular brand of GPU is preferred, we do our best to accommodate that requirement, as well as any other preferences that add further value to the Notch experience.
To discover more about the custom-build options available to you for Notch, or to learn more about the many capabilities of our 2U Nano rackmount PC, please get in touch with the team.
We were absolutely thrilled to join the largest AV systems integration show in the world this February – Integrated Systems Europe (ISE). With almost 1,300 exhibitors across 15 area-specific halls, it was the biggest the event has ever been, housing an astonishing 80,923 visitors over four days. It was our first time visiting the coveted exhibition at its home in the RAI Amsterdam, and it made a phenomenal impression.
Sponsored by leading audio-visual associations AVIXA and CEDIA, ISE provides the ideal platform for AV, digital media, live events, and smart technology-focused businesses from all over the globe to converge annually and put their latest innovations on display. We were lucky enough to get up close and personal with some exciting new technologies, see how our own products stack up and get a good taste of what the industry can expect from the rest of 2018 and beyond. There were plenty of examples of what we like to call “wow” stands, with LED screen displays and astounding 4K visual showpieces galore. We were also happy to see augmented reality and virtual reality take some of the spotlight, including live demonstrations of commercial solutions such as 3D training simulations. Video mapping also played a large role due to the debut of the World Masters of Projection Mapping competition, which came to a close on the final day and saw Florian and Michael Quistrebert’s ‘Stripe 5’ named the victor – a truly incredible piece of digital artwork.
The Audio & Live Event technology zone of the show floor in particular was of the greatest interest to us, and didn’t disappoint; there was a lot to digest. It was fantastic to get to see so many ground-breaking audio and visual technologies all under one roof – this gave us multiple opportunities to expand our own understanding of the market, network with some of the world’s leading manufacturers, and better connect with the wider AV and digital community. We’ll be using all of the knowledge acquired from ISE to help shape our line-up of products ready for what we know is coming in the near future.
We now cannot wait for ISE 2019, and are already looking into what to expect from next year, so watch this space. To find out more about our experiences at ISE, or to discover what our Rack and Mini PC solutions can bring to audio and live events, contact us.
We’re very excited to announce that our brand new Bantam PC is now available to order! The Bantam takes all of the best components of a Rack PC and packs it into a Mini PC case, meaning you get the best of both worlds.
This machine is fighting fit, promising exceptional performance and all-important flexibility. While its compact design means it’s perfect for your comms cabinet and can enable you to fit two units side-by-side in a 1U rackspace, it’s also the ideal solution for any high-demand applications thanks to its wide range of impressive processing options.
Here’s a blow-by-blow breakdown of the Bantam’s exceptional features:
Processor options: fanless Celeron to i7
Dual Gigabit Ethernet Ports
2 SSD 2.5” drive bays
Optional RS232 Port
Internal AC/DC 90W PSU
We believe the Bantam’s internal AC/DC power supply unit (PSU) and variety of convenient mounting options make it the one to watch. Depending on your preferences, the Bantam can be mounted in a 1U rack, wall or VESA.
The Bantam PC is now officially available to order. If you would like to get your hands on this mighty machine, or else find out what this new PC means for the future of our product range, please speak to one of the team.
Since releasing our article on the compatibility of our products with video production software from vMix, customers have been curious to know what other popular software our line-up of Rack and Mini PCs are used to host. With this in mind, we’ve decided to take a closer look at our product configurations for grandMA, which is specialist software for MA Lighting.
MA Lighting’s award-winning family of grandMA/grandMA2 products are designed for the control and customisation of lighting displays for AV and digital media installations. There are three key pieces of software within their portfolio – grandMA2 onPC, MA 3D, and MA remote control. By implementing grandMA2 onPC into our units, we open up the potential for MA 3D and remote control to be easily integrated and used as needed by our customers. We have been commissioned to build all sorts of custom configurations of our 1U Plus and 2U Nano PC models to host grandMA, composed specifically to harness the full capabilities of the platform.
What is the software used for?
grandMA2 onPC’s highly flexible and intuitive interface allows users to easily pre-program and run complete lighting shows, while gaining the benefits of an agile layout for any show-situation. MA 3D, on the other hand, does exactly what it says on the box. It acts a visualiser and pre-programming tool for any three-dimensional stage layout designs, and also integrates directly with grandMA2 onPC for added functionality. Finally, MA remote control provides a convenient and user-friendly means of controlling your grandMA2 onPC software from a local web browser.
What does grandMA need from a rack PC?
Fundamentally, we’ve found that the important components that are needed to host grandMA on a rackmount PC are the following:
Dual-width high-performance NVIDIA GPU
Solid State Hard Drive
The benefits of our PCs for grandMA
Our ultra-slim 1U Plus is a great fit for hosting grandMA software, with options for range-topping CPUs such as Intel’s i7 6-core and Xeon 8-core processors, as well as two PCIe x16 expansion bays that can easily fit a dual-width graphics card such as an NVIDIA GeForce GPU for enhanced performance. This is a perfect unit for installations that are space-sensitive, small enough to comfortably fit into a hand-held flight case for ease of portability between shows.
Likewise, our 2U Nano is one of our most widely used PCs for digital media, thanks to its ultra-low noise, near silent power supply and modest form factor. It’s also faster than many media servers on the market today, making it ideal for running complex and extensive lighting shows. By modifying our units, we are also able to add valuable features to these PCs, depending on the requirements of the application they are fulfilling, including options for Video Input cards and Wi-Fi functionality.
We try to ensure that no matter the configuration, our customers are always given the best user experience possible and successfully achieve the audio-visual and digital outcomes they seek from any production software.
If you would like to learn more about how grandMA can be integrated with our products, or are interested in the benefits of using grandMA software, get in touch with one of the team.
Following the recent release of our new 4U Nano rackmount PC, we’ve got yet another surprise in store for you. We’re delighted to reveal that, as predicted, the 7th generation NUC case from Intel has arrived! NUC was a gamechanger in PC design and the 7th generation continues this heritage in innovation. Since receiving their preproduction samples of the Commercial line-up last year, we’ve been waiting patiently to get the Commercial 7th gen NUCs out to our customers and now we can’t wait any longer.
This new generation of units is now officially available to order, and comes with some truly impressive features:
One such part of Intel’s 7th generation Kaby Lake architecture is the NUC7i5DNBE NUC, which comes as a board-only configuration with a vPro variant designed for Enterprise deployments. Being board-only means you get the flexibility of choosing or designing your own chassis (which we’ve done with our own), or else building the board into compatible devices, whether that’s for 4K digital signage, kiosks, or whichever business applications you need them to meet.
Housing a choice of Intel’s 7th generation Core i3 and i5 vPro range of processors, the new NUC family promises high-performance and accelerated workflow, thanks also to its compatibility with Intel’s new Optane memory architecture. The units are purpose-built with protection and connectivity in mind for a secure and truly integrated experience, including support for Thunderbolt 3 and new data encryption features, making them ideally suited to all sorts of emerging applications.
If you would like to find out more about Intel’s 7th gen NUCs and their board-only variants, please get in touch with us today to discuss the options available to you.
More and more frequently, we are seeing an increasing need for rackmount PCs that are flight case-portable, particularly from our AV and digital media customers. Most media servers on the market today are too large and impractical to travel comfortably between different events, making transportation of the necessary kit awkward and time-consuming. We recently interviewed Lewis Kyle White (LKW) of Pixels & Noise, a well-regarded content and visual design company and G2 customer, to discover why portability is such an important aspect of their product selection and why our 2U Nano rackmount PC in particular turned out to be the “perfect solution” to their problem.
The 2U Nano in flight
LKW’s 2U Nano was custom-built to support real-time rendering software, Notch – an app that enables users to create interactive video content and is key to the services they deliver. The 2U Nano’s compact design and suitability for high-performance workloads was ideal for running Notch, and has now become LKW’s dedicated machine for this purpose, mainly used for show preproduction work. However, being such a flexible machine, it’s equally at home when used for both show rehearsals and live production, without having to hand the latter over to larger media servers.
The Notch-specific 2U Nano is transported to various shows across the country in a flight case, being small enough to easily fit on planes and trains as needed. Its 370mm ultra-short-depth chassis means that there is also plenty of room left within the case for any additional kit, or it could even conceivably be joined by a second 2U Nano within the same rack, as these are half the depth of standard media servers.
The unit has visited the Barbican, The Fast and Furious Live arena show, and on its very first outing, MTV’s Europe Music Awards, where it was the primary box on-site for Notch work for The Killers, helping to create visuals from real-time 3D scans of the band. It has also recently made an appearance at the 2018 BAFTA Film Awards, and travelled to Amsterdam for this year’s Integrated Systems Europe!
Why choose the 2U Nano?
As the height of servers was such an issue, and an important factor for Lewis Kyle White, they had searched for a long time to discover a suitable chassis before coming across G2’s 2U Nano solution. The machine itself, with no moving parts to speak of, is extremely robust and durable, and when housed within its flight case becomes even more ruggedised and secure during transit. Its mounting options are incredibly versatile, in that it can be rackmounted from the front as well as the back of the unit, which is a rarity. What LKW also found surprising was how diverse and expandable such a small unit could be, providing multiple options to interchange graphics cards and other components to further boost its performance.
With such a professional-looking, flexible machine in hand, LKW has already seen the business benefit, after only 6 months of use. They have had multiple enquires from potential customers following their purchase of the 2U Nano, if only due to its portability, which puts LKW heads and shoulders above other designers and operators using larger servers for their productions.
The value of a G2 unit
“G2 were very accommodating throughout the entire process, and went out of their way to help provide me with all of the components I needed from the 2U Nano. They considered seemingly minor elements that ended up adding real value to my experience; I was always confident that they truly knew their stuff and would be completely transparent with me.” – Lewis Kyle White, Director
If you are in need of a portable, high-performing unit such as the 2U Nano for AV and digital media shows or installations, or would like to learn more about our line-up of rack-mountable PCs, please get in touch with the G2 team.