Event Coverage

Elevating Businesses the HP Way!

By Vijay Anand - 20 Mar 2010

For the Education Sector

For the Education Sector

Among the most interesting solutions at the event is the new HP Multiseat Computing solution. HP wanted to simplify IT in the education sector for quicker, easier to maintain and more rapid deployment for small group usage. Many schools don't have the luxury of a dedicated MIS team in the developing countries and more so in the rural areas. So unlike thin client setup infrastructure (considering central manageability), which requires networking know-how and a server, HP eliminated the traditional thin clients and the networking layer altogether. HP's Multiseat Computing involves a host PC (the server if you will), multiple Multiseat devices (a form of thin client device) and the specially Microsoft MultiPoint Server 2010 operating system.

A quick overview of the HP Multiseat Computing solution.

Using just the normal USB 2.0 technology, each Multiseat device is the gateway to connect the input/output peripherals such as the monitor, keyboard, mouse and audio for one user. The operating system manages the rest of the magic through virtualized environments for each Multiseat device or user. The OS itself has a volume licensing for up to 10 users, one on the host machine directly (such as the teacher) and 9 other seats for students.

There was an actual demonstration of the HP Multiseat Computing solution at the event and seen here in the center is the host PC while the other users benefit from the system's processing capabilities with the Multiseat device. Since today's systems are pretty powerful, this form of sharing compute resources is a possibility.

The host PC can come in various configurations but for the purpose of basic school and library usage deployment, the ms6000 model that debuted in Indonesia uses an Intel Core 2 class PC based on the Intel Q43 chipset and Intel GMA 4500 class integrated graphics engine. The host PC will be sold in standard (5-user system) and extended configuration (10-user system) with differing compute power such as dual-core versus quad-core, memory, storage and other such differences. The limitation of how many users can connect to a system is more to do with the operating system's licensing limitation than anything else. So if you need a system to cater to 20 users, you'll need two sets of this solution. On average, the cost of the entire solution for a 10-user system is about US$3000, which comes out to an average of US$300 per seat which includes the cost of the machine, I/O devices, management, licensing and support for three years - not a bad deal at all. Best of all, adding and removing users is a piece of cake and can be managed by anyone (thanks to USB connectivity).

The downside is that all the companion users need to be seated less than five meters from the host PC since USB has a distance limitation before its effective speed dips. This can however be extended by using powered USB hubs. Otherwise, the entire solution is very ideal to be set up in quick time just about anywhere a simple setup is required. Typical web surfing and simple productivity tasks are most suitable in sharing the compute power of today's high-end PCs. Not to mention are the cost savings in electricity which can be over 80% when compared against typical PC deployments for each user. The Multiseat devices themselves don't require extra power and run off the USB cable so their impact is quite minimal at about 2W on average.

This is HP Multiseat t100 (thin client) device. While it's still termed as a 'thin client' device, it's nothing of that sort compared to traditional thin client and server architectures. This Multiseat device just acts as a gateway to the virtualized environment on the server with its own I/O devices. As you may have noticed, this model only has PS/2 and VGA connections. A quick check with the executives revealed that other configurations like USB and DVI are possible for more advanced environments.

The positioning of the HP Multiseat device solution as per our discussion earlier.

Moving on to other product groups, two notable renewed notebook models that are suitable for this segment are the HP Mini 5102 (a 'business' netbook with the newer Intel Atom N450 processor), and the HP EliteBook 2740p Tablet PC.

The HP Mini 5102 retains almost all of what you're familiar with the Mini 5101 which fist sported this design, build and features. It's basically a 'business' class netbook but it is inevitably yet another netbook choice for most people since a netbook can only handle that much. The Mini 5102 replaces the original netbook platform with the newer Pine Trail netbook platform featuring the Intel Atom N450 processor.

Additionally, the new HP Mini 5102 has a cleverly designed retractable handle that also doubles up as a slight stand for heat dissipation from underneath the netbook. This handle is optional though and no pricing was available for this yet. Also, facial recognition technology is built into the netbook for easy login. Last but not least, the Mini 5102 can be centrally managed for asset tracking and the software comes with the system.

The new HP EliteBook 2470p is a step up from the 2370p predecessor with fresh new internals thanks to the Intel Core i5 and even i7 processor options. Also new is the optional capacitive multi-touch screen.

Moving up the performance scale, for tertiary education, research and other more demanding tasks, HP has released a brand new range of even more affordable HP Z workstation models under the Z200 class. When the Z class first launched a year ago, they heralded a new age of design, performance, convenience and manageability with the Z800, Z600 and Z400 models. The new Z200 settles for more mainstream workstation performance and straightforward designs to offer an affordable, yet reasonably powerful work machines. Starting from jus US$900 using the new Intel Core i3 processor and integrated graphics, it also comes in more reasonably powerful configurations such as an Intel Xeon 3400 processor and NVIDIA Quadro FX 1800 graphics.

The new HP Z200 workstation takes on a more tame design to keep things simple, straightforward, affordable and yet relevant with the latest in processor technology.

Join HWZ's Telegram channel here and catch all the latest tech news!
Our articles may contain affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may earn a small commission.