Deploying thin clients may not result in cost savings for every organization, but small and midsize businesses looking for a robust, fairly powerful dumb-terminal experience can find it in Hewlett-Packard Co.s Compaq t5510 and t5710 Thin Client systems.
Released in October, the t5510 and t5710 thin clients have small footprints, making them unobtrusive on the desktop. The solid-state devices lack hard drives, but they have a Windows look and feel that may appease users reluctant to abandon thick clients.
The t5510, which is priced starting at $359, is equipped with Microsoft Corp.s Windows CE .Net operating system and Internet Explorer 6.0 for basic HTML browsing. While surfing the Web with the t5510, we experienced the best performance when accessing Web sites that were not graphically intensive.
The t5510 that eWEEK Labs tested was armed with a Transmeta Corp. 800MHz Crusoe processor and ATI Technologies Inc.s Radeon 7000M graphics card that includes 16MB of discrete VRAM (video RAM). The unit was equipped with 32MB of flash memory and 128MB of DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM); 16MB are reserved for processor usage. A version with 64MB of DDR SDRAM is also available.
The t5710, which is priced starting at $509, offers substantial upgrade potential and provides more flexibility for users who want some of the capabilities found in traditional desktops, such as the ability to save locally. Administrators also have the ability to lock down the terminals to ensure security is not compromised.
The t5710 system we tested came with a Transmeta 1.1GHz Efficeon processor. A version with an 800MHz Crusoe processor is also available. Like the t5510, the t5710 comes with a Radeon 7000M graphics card with 16MB of discrete VRAM.
Our t5710 test unit had 256MB of flash memory and 256MB of DDR SDRAM. (As much as 32MB is reserved for process usage.)
We found the t5710 surprisingly robust. In tests of the 1.1GHz t5710, we noticed no degradation of performance when accessing Citrix Systems Inc. server-based applications such as Microsofts Great Plains Human Resources Management package. The terminal, which comes with the Microsoft Windows XP Embedded operating system, looks like any thick client.
IT managers will appreciate that it took less than 5 minutes for us to set up the thin clients. After the units were powered on, they automatically took their network parameters from the eWEEK Labs DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server. The t5710 is also compliant with Microsoft Active Directory.
The ability to centralize management is one of the most appealing aspects of thin clients. HPs terminals come with Altiris Inc.s Deployment Solution, which IT managers can use to centrally manage and deploy the units. The Altiris solution can be used to manage and deploy a single image across both new and existing thin clients.
The HP thin clients also offer a full suite of legacy ports for peripherals. Both units we tested come equipped with serial, parallel and PS/2 ports, as well as four USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports—something we were happy to see. An optional PCI expansion module is also available.
Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.