Virtualization services can enable a server to stream the entire PC experience to remote users, and ViewSonic is hoping its SC-T45 thin client PC will be on the receiving end.
By Jim Kumorek
October 30, 2013
Large organizations are finding benefits to moving from a “one PC for everyone” model to servers that support a number of users logged in through virtualization services such as Microsoft’s Remote Desktop or Citrix. The user’s local system is just a means to access the server—applications are not installed locally. This reduces support requirements by centralizing the systems that actually need software installed on them.
For users who need no local software installed and only access servers in this fashion, a number of venders have produced “thin client” systems—computers with just enough power to run the remote access software that often have no local storage installed. One such system is the ViewSonic SC-T45, which we’re looking at today.
Packaging and Hardware
The SC-T45 is physically tiny and light-weight, weighing in at 1.2 pounds (0.5 kg), and 1.6x5.6x4.1 inches in size. It uses a power-supply “brick”, moving the additional bulk and weight of the power supply to the power cable. It can be placed on the included stand, or mounted to the back of a monitor as the stand serves dual-purpose as a VESA bracket.
The system is powered by Intel’s Atom N2800 dual-core processor running at 1.87 GHz. Graphics is provided by the Intel NM10 chip (which also provides the networking, USB and audio support for the system), with a maximum resolution of 1920x1200—plenty of screen real estate for most business users. Utilized in tablets and phones, this processor is designed with low-power and portability in mind, and makes sense for use in a thin-client box where local processing performance isn’t a strong concern. This system uses only 36 watts of electricity – about a third of the power consumed by just the processor in my desktop system.
It includes 2 GB of memory, and no local storage system to speak of – there’s just enough built-in flash storage for the operating system and a little local cache space. Installing local applications is not intended.
For external ports, four USB 2.0 ports are provided (two in front, two in back); a DVI-D port; an RJ-45 jack for gigabit Ethernet; Microphone and headphone jacks; and the power jack. The system is not equipped for WiFi, but as a thin client for remote access work, I wouldn’t want to do that through WiFi anyway for performance reasons.