HP Launches New Thin Client Solution Based on Blade

22 Oct, 2008 By: Kenneth Wong

Computer maker turns its attention to MCAD.

If you run your engineering department with a client-server setup, HP has a new combo that might interest you. The PC maker has just launched a new thin-client machine, HP gt7725 (beginning around $760), paired with the HP xw2x220c Blade Workstation server (price varies depending on configuration). At the current pricing, the gt7725 costs slightly less than its predecessor dc7300 (roughly $850).

Client: HP gt7725
Intended only as access terminals, client machines usually offer less computing horsepower than desktop PCs. But HP is pitching the gt7725 as a unit that offers "true PC performance." The new machine features an AMD Turion Dual-Core 2.3 GHz processor, with 2 GB dual-channel system memory, and 1 GB Flash memory.

For those who prefer to work with multiple displays, the gt7725 supports up to 5,120 x 1,600 resolution for dual-monitor setup (at 2,560 x 1,600 each) or up to 7,680 x 1,200 resolution for four-monitor setup (at 1,920 x 1,200 each).

Solutions based on the Blade Workstation "were initially focused on the financial trading market," revealed Dan Olsen, HP's worldwide business development manager for Blade Workstations, "but we're now turning our attention to the mechanical CAD market, and some others, like oil and gas exploration, which require intense graphics."

HP's new client-computing solution pairs up the gt7725 (shown here) with the xw2x220c Blade Workstation server.

Server: HP xw2x220c Blade
The Blade Workstation server comes with single- or dual-socket configuration per node. It's available with dual- or quad-core Intel Xeon processors (2.33 GHz to 3.0 GHz), up to 32 GB memory (at 667 MHz per node), an NVIDIA Quadro FX 770M, a 250 GB or 120 GB SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) internal storage per node, with embedded SATA controllers. The machine ships with Windows Vista Business Blade PC Edition 32-bit preinstalled, but can be downgraded to Windows XP Professional 32-bit for those who wish. It supports Windows XP Professional 64-bit Edition. Installer kit for Linux Red Hat is included.

The xw2x220c is part of HP's ProLiant product line, which shares the same features and design standards of traditional HP ProLiant servers. "This is a double-density Blade," Olsen pointed out, "with two independent motherboards in each chassis," a feature that lets IT managers save operating costs by harnessing more computing power through fewer sockets and connections.

Remote Computing
The new solution comes with HP's Remote Graphics Software (RGS), described as "an advanced utility that allows you to remotely access and share your graphics workstation desktop."

The advantage of using RGS, Olsen explained, "is that the data resides in the Blade data center. Only small, encrypted bit steams are transferred to [the client machine], so the source data is not at risk."

With RGS-enabled solutions, users are expected to have access the computational power available within the remote server unit (in this case, the HP xw2x220c Blade Workstation) from the client machines.

With the price of an average PC continually falling, some people are considering replacing the thin client machines with regular PCs, creating resistance for the client-server computing market. Eric Croswhite, HP's worldwide manager for thin clients, pointed out client-computing offers certain advantages in security and maintenance.

"All the data resides on the central server, so [the client machine] has no local hard drive that can be compromised. It has no moving parts associated with the hard drive, so it's more reliable," he responded.