By eweek  |  Posted 2006-05-08 Print this article Print

Announced in March 2006, the HP Compaq 5720 gets a noticeable performance boost with Advanced Micro Devices 1GHz Geode NX1500 processor—the first AMD processor in a thin client.

Priced starting at $699—higher than other thin-client models weve looked at—the HP Compaq t5720 comes with Microsofts Windows XP Embedded SP2 (Service Pack 2) operating system, Microsofts RDP client, Internet Explorer 6.0, Windows Media Player 9.0 and terminal emulations.

The units have 512MB of flash memory to hold system settings and 512MB of DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM), 16MB of which are reserved for processor usage. A version with 256MB of SDRAM is also available.

Our unit was also armed with SiS Technologies SiS741GX integrated graphics controller with 16MB of shared graphics memory. Most VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association)-compliant LCD and conventional CRT screens will support 2,048-by-1,536-pixel resolution in full 32-bit color with the HP Compaq thin client—an impressive maximum resolution.

With six USB 2.0 ports, end users are covered when it comes to connecting devices such as external storage and printers to the HP Compaq t5720. The HP Compaq system also offers two P/S2 connectors, as well as audio, serial and parallel ports. The units are connected to the network via 10/100M-bps Ethernet.

Unlike the Sun Ray 2FS, the HP Compaq t5720 does not come with built-in dual-head monitor capabilities. An optional PCI Expansion slot can be added, along with a $159 Nvidia Quadro4 280NVS 64MB DDR Dual Head (with VGA Y-cable) PCI graphics card for users who require the real estate. That expansion slot can also be used to add connectivity options, such as an 802.11b/g wireless adapter or a modem.

One of the benefits of using thin clients is power savings and, in this department, the HP Compaq t5720, which draws 30 watts, will be a much better conservationist than fat clients but not as good as the Sun Ray 2FS.

Click here to read a review of the Sun Ray 2FS thin client. While organizations that need the highest levels of security will probably not purchase a thin client with a hard drive like the HP Compaq t5720, we were able to disable local storage for security purposes as well as lock our user profile to limit operating system vulnerabilities. The HP Compaq t5720 comes standard with the HP Sygate Security Agent for protection from worms and viruses.

The thin client also has an Altiris Deployment Solution license for remote management. This will be especially handy for IT managers who want to manage the thin client as well as other resources on the network together on a single console. The HP Compaq t5720 also supports VNC (Virtual Network Computing) remote control and has a terminal emulator for accessing mainframes and other older systems.

As with previous HP thin clients, we found the HP Compaq t5720 extremely easy to set up—the entire process took 5 minutes. And, like the HP Compaq t5720s predecessor, the 1.1GHz HP Compaq t5710, the new thin client is robust. This was most obvious when we used Microsoft RDP to access another computer via terminal services.

With a stand, the HP Compaq t5720 measures 10.67 by 4.33 by 9.33 inches. Without the stand, it measures 9.85 by 2.59 by 8.09 inches. Our unit also came with an optional HP Quick Release mounting bracket (priced at $29), which allowed us to mount our unit behind an LCD monitor.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.


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