Six thin clients reviewed

Summary:In the first instalment of a two-part review on thin clients, we look at thin-client terminals.

Ipex WBT 370CE
MaxTerm 8300B
Sun Ray 170
VXL Itona
Wyse S30
Asterisk PC reviver
What to look out for
Sample scenario
Editor's choice
About RMIT

VXL Itona

While a very neat machine, the VXL Itona weighs in at over 2.9kg -- more than one kilogram heavier than the second in line -- due to a very large heat sink covering the CPU and power supply unit. The benefit of this heat sink is that it removes the need to have any fans in the machine, and the less mechanical/moving components one has the longer the machine should operate without needing servicing. The terminal's dimensions are 45 x 50 x 255mm.

Internally there is a relatively new generation VIA chipset mainboard, an IDE port card provides the firmware/OS storage, and it has a single 64MB RAM module and space free for one more. There is a PCI card on the mainboard however due to the space constraints within the chassis this would be impossible to utilise unless the top lid was left off.

The construction and assembly of the unit, (made in India), is excellent -- ll cables are routed neatly and every screw, cable, or device which could become unseated is held in place with a dab of hot glue. Even the earthing of the mainboard to chassis has been taken care of with small copper pads sticking the rear panel of the chassis to the top of the RJ45 and PS/2 risers.

Behind the faceplate there is another heatsink, which further adds to the weight and also shows that the engineers at VXL really went through some thermal testing and research and development to arrive at this chassis design. When the faceplate is clipped on there is a power button with integrated LED and next to this are two recessed USB ports -- users may have difficultly plugging USB devices into these due to the depth of the recession. A short USB extension cable would definitely relieve this problem, however it could make the desk more messy than necessary.

The rear of the unit has both male and female power connectors, two PS/2 ports, 9-pin serial port, 25-pin parallel port, 15-pin VGA port, games port, three audio ports (line in, out and mic), an RJ45 network port, and two more USB ports.

The design of this unit is outstanding, the features are also adequate, however the expansion is behind some of the other similar thin clients in this review.

Product Itona TC3541-CE
Price AU$549
Vendor VXL Australia
Phone 02 4329 5777
Good range of interoperability with most services.
Limited expansion capabilities, however has quite a few usable external ports, including 4 USB (2 on the front).
Excellent price for a well-constructed device.
A 3-year warranty is very good.
VXL Itona

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Innovation

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