• HD-SDI

    Bringing Dual HD-SDI to 7th gen NUCs

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    Recently, we’ve received numerous requests for customisations to our NUC units that allow for the addition of Dual HD-SDI input cards. As the first company in the world to rackmount the NUC, our unique chassis for Intel’s new 7th gen NUCs makes this easily achievable, enabling us to provide the high-performance systems our customers require.

    What is Dual HD-SDI?

    Dual high-definition serial data interfaces (HD-SDI) are frequently used for professional broadcasting and video purposes, and as such are regularly called upon to help with the delivery of video conferencing applications and streaming services. These interfaces typically provide a much purer signal than similar alternative solutions, and use coaxial cables that have BNC radio frequency connectors attached. These cables are very simple to run, particularly over long distances, with fibre optic variants allowing for more far-reaching transmissions.

    Why G2 for Dual HD-SDI?

    By modifying our NUC units, we’ve created a device that makes input for HD-SDI not only possible, but easy. To provide sufficient slots for the interfaces to connect to, we’ve actually bulkhead-mounted BNC connections to the rear of the 7th gen NUC units, fixing these in place on the machine’s panel as opposed to needing these on the coaxial cabling.  This makes for a far more streamlined and fuss-free user experience, allowing much greater flexibility for HD-SDI input from Intel’s highly reliable Mini machines.

    This is just one of many modifications we’ve made to our machines in support of all sorts of applications. If you would like us to modify your unit to accommodate Dual HD-SDI input cards, or else if you’d like to learn more about our PC custom-builds, get in touch.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: Development Projects, Products, Technical Articles

  • Intel 8th generation

    Intel’s 8th gen CPUs now available across all G2 PCs

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    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.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Notch

    Our 2U Nano kicks real-time rendering up a Notch

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    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?

    Notch in actionOur 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.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: Products

  • ISE

    Our ISE experience: G2 Digital in Amsterdam

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    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.

    ISE Digital MediaSponsored 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.

    ISE floorThe 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.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • Bantam

    Our Bantam PC is here – and it’s a knockout!

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    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.

    Round One

    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.

    Round Two

    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.

    Knockout!

    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.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: Products

  • grandMA light show

    Our 1U Plus and 2U Nano PCs are a grand choice for grandMA software

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    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
    • 8GB RAM
    • 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.

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

  • 7th gen NUCs

    Worth the wait! Intel’s 7th gen NUCs

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    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:

    • Core i3 and i5 vPro processors
    • Two HDMI 2.0 Outputs for full 4K support
    • Support for Additional NIC Ports – using our M.2 NIC Expansion Card
    • Intel Optane Memory ready
    • Support for Windows 10
    • Four USB 3.0 ports
    • 3 year product lifecycle

    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.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products