Windows 8 Allows New HP ARM Thin-Clients, AMD APU Clients Also Showed Off
October 16, 2012 1:33 PM
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Yes, they can even play Crysis
The idea of so-called "thin-client" virtualization is simple and not terribly new. The idea is basically you take a very powerful server computer and create a number of hosted environments on it, and then stream video to cheap, low-powered desktop clients. The hosted environments receive all the input (say keyboard and mouse) from the clients.
I. Power Efficient CPUs Drive HP's Growing Thin-Client Army
While the idea itself is not all that new, low-power processing and broadband streaming technology has only just now reached the point where server makers can come up with the products to make it attractive and affordable on a wide scale.
One of the key companies leading the way
), which is looking to leverage emerging processor design to offer businesses cheap and capable thin-clients.
It's current demoing
-- one based on a 1 GHz Texas Instruments Inc. (
) chip using an ARM Holdings Plc (
) Cortex-A8 intellectual property core + instruction set, and the other using a 1.65 GHz dual-core T56N
"accelerated processing unit" (APU)
from Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (
), which comes with a built in Radeon graphics processing unit.
These cheap, low-power processors from TI/ARM and AMD prove the key to HP's ambitious thin-client vision.
A pair of HP t610 thin-clients (powered by AMD APUs)
(The ARM product is dubbed the HP t410 AiO Smart Zero Client, while the AMD APU variant is named the HP t610 Flexible Thin Client.)
Michael Clifford, HP Director, Cloud Computing, UK&I, spoke about
showing the new designs
at the upcoming
, which is being held this Wednesday and Thursday in London. He comments, "The Cloud Computing space is constantly accelerating and maturing, and it is important that IT departments are not left behind. At this year's IP EXPO, we will demonstrate how our secure cloud solutions establish the ideal foundation, allowing businesses to become the 'service broker' and decide how and where to deliver IT services, opening limitless horizons of new abilities and powers."
So what does all that mean?
Your employer may soon be replacing your full-fledged PC (expensive) with a small, lightweight, power-efficient thin-client (cheaper). But you won't see any performance hit (in-theory), thanks to the beefy server back-end.
II. Enabled by Windows 8
Speaking of that back-end, that gets back to a final player in both HP and its rival's thin client experience -- Microsoft Corp. (
). Microsoft's latest Windows 7 and Windows Server operating systems are offering
a technology called RemoteFX
, which allows the server backend to deliver a so-called "remote desktop" (the virtualized workspace) to the thin-client. Microsoft shows off the might of RemoteFX in a recent video, showing that yes, a thin-client really can play
While Windows 8 is
for introducing the
controversial Metro reskin
of the start menu and other features businesses don't care as much about (
), the upcoming OS is good news for businesses when it comes to thin-clients. Why?
Well, the latest and greatest upcoming thin clients such as the HP t410 AiO that use cheap, power-efficient ARM processors -- the same chips used in smartphones and tablets -- won't run on Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP.
-- the ARM-centric version of Windows 8 -- will be the
first Microsoft operating system to add support
. In that regard, the ability to leverage ARM-endowed thin clients could prove a key carrot to driving businesses to Windows 8 -- something that would doubtless please Microsoft.
HP [1, press release via IT News Online]
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: I'm sure this would be great for business...
10/17/2012 8:59:58 AM
As is stands today, GPUs cannot be virtualized - a necessary step to do what you're after. Right now, it's a 1 to 1 mapping of a GPU to a session. Hopefully it's just a driver thing, but I'm thinking they aren't there yet with the hardware. Heck we're only just now getting virtualization for NICs (SR-IOV), and that requires the right hardware from the card all the way through the motherboard to the CPU, and the right drivers, and the right os. Server 2012 is the first MS os to support it. Me thinks it'll still be some more time on the GPU side, but in a household, you may be able to load up enough GPUs in a central workstation to make it work.
RE: I'm sure this would be great for business...
10/27/2012 12:23:44 PM
You're wrong on the virtualized GPU comment. I'm helping support a 2012 W8 project that's virtualizing GPUs expressly to provide the needed firepower for CAD program usage on thin clients in a university setting.
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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