Goodbye Tower-PCs: Mini-PCs conquer our offices

For already quite a long time now Mini-PCs are being used in the industrial sector. Furthermore they’ve found their places in many offices. And this has a good reason: Since Tower-PCs need a lot of space and affect the soundscape at working places in a negative way, they are often replaced by fanless Mini-PCs, which help prevent annoying background noises. And even with their compact design the PCs have a high processing power. Read on and find out what makes a Mini-PC adequate for your office.

Why a Mini-PC should definitely be used at your working space

Long story short: We have collected the most important advantages of our Mini-PCs for you.

Benefits of your office Mini-PC:

•    Reduction of background noises
•    Energy-efficient
•    Space-saving
•    Efficient working through high processor power
•    Longevity

Does that sound nice or what? But talking big is easy. Here’s how the above-mentioned aspects come off.

Reduction of background noises:

One of the most significant things which affect the volume of a PC is the cooling system. Because they are much
quieter than PCs with an active cooling, especially passively cooled systems help creating a comfortable working
atmosphere.

What you should not forget when thinking about reducing the sound, is the choice of the hard drive.
Choosing a passively cooled system with an SSD makes it possible to work completely silent.

Energy-efficient:

We all know that the power consumption of a Mini-PC is in general lower than the consumption of a
Tower-PC and since there’s no active cooling system that has to be active, you can easily safe some energy costs.
                     
Also, who would have thought that even in this point the SSD is one of the main reasons for it (see also
our article “What is the difference between HDD and SSD?”).

Space-saving:

Obvious one, isn't it?

Efficient working through high processor power:

Using desktop-CPUs for Mini-PCs is very common. The same applies to dedicated graphics chips. This way even
in the smallest PC-housings benchmarks beyond good and evil can be reached.

Longevity:

Especially affects our passively cooled systems:
Considering there are no cooling fins or heat pipes, the cooling system can’t fall out, which means the Mini-PCs
have a higher expected lifetime. It also applies to SSDs, which can – compared to HDDs – note several writing cycles. 

Examples for Mini-PCs you can use in your office:

•    WINDBOX III Advanced
•    WINDBOX II Quad
•    NANO H110

##Explore all of spo-comm's Mini-PCs

More on this topic

19 Sep 2017 Array ( [id] => 282 [title] => What’s new? Thunderbolt 3, ruler SSD and alternatives to SATA [authorId] => [active] => 1 [shortDescription] => In addition to the new interface Thunderbolt 3, this month we are dealing mainly with the subject of memory: Intel has introduced a new form factor called "ruler", SATA is no longer the best interface for SSDs and the memory shortage is far from over. [description] =>

Intel Thunderbolt 3: One for all

Thunderbolt 3 is a multifunctional interface that is directly compatible with USB Type-C, but also supports DisplayPort and PCIe. For example, external graphics cards can be connected via PCI Express, while suitable connection cables allow to address various screen inputs. Thanks to a transfer speed of up to 40 Gbit/s it is even possible to reproduce two times 4K resolution, while simultaneously transferring data via USB 3.1. In order to promote and spread the interface, Intel has announced to make the standard royalty-free and release the specifications for the industry.

Variations of SSDs: The interfaces

For a long time the SATA interface was the standard for SSDs. However, since SSDs work differently than HDDs for which SATA was originally developed, a speed increase is no longer possible. This requires a whole new protocol. Depending on which interfaces are available on the PC, SSDs with SATA 6G, its further development SATA Express (SATAe), m.2 or PCI Express (PCIe) can be used.

In addition to M.2 and 2,5": New SSD form factor "ruler"

Intel has recently introduced a new form factor for SSDs, which is named "ruler". As the name suggests, it has a long, flat shape. Thanks to the dimensions of 325.35 x 36.8 x 9.5 mm, up to 32 ruler SSDs fit into a 1U server. With a planned capacity of 32 TB per SSD (currently 16 TB), such a rack server would reach a storage capacity of 1 PB (petabyte). First SSDs in the new "ruler" form factor are to be released by the end of the year, possibly there will also be modules with double height.

Prices remain high: Searching for alternatives to DRAM

The fact that memory prices have risen considerably in the last month is well known. Unfortunately, there is still no end in sight – it is even expected to continue like this in 2018 – as the most important manufacturers are using more and more parts of their production capacities for server and smartphone storage. Solutions to the problematic memory shortage would, for example, be a more efficient architecture or an adaption of the firmware and software in order to improve the use of existing memory. More considerations on this subject can be found here.

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know-how

What’s new? Thunderbolt 3, ruler SSD and alternatives to SATA

In addition to the new interface Thunderbolt 3, this month we are dealing mainly with the subject of memory: Intel has introduced a new form factor called "ruler", SATA is no longer the best interface for SSDs and the memory shortage is far from over.
5 Dec 2017 Array ( [id] => 302 [title] => The Mini-PC product series from spo-comm – Our Allrounder WINDBOX [authorId] => [active] => 1 [shortDescription] => To crown our series of articles about our product range we will introduce our WINDBOX series this week. The spo-book WINDBOX II Quad and the spo-book WINDBOX III Advanced stand for their versatile range of application, their reliability and their attractive price. The latest connectors such as HDMI or USB 3.0, a passive cooling system and a low power consumption are all integrated in these Mini-PCs and make it possible to use the WINDBOX in the industrial sector, as a digital signage player or in the logistics field. [description] =>

spo-book WINDBOX II Quad

Our spo-book WINDBOX II Quad is already the fourth generation of the WINDBOX series that – as the name says – has a very high power through its four cores. The solid metal housing offers low power consumption, a passive cooling system and protects the Mini-PC against external influences. With its flat design the Mini-PC fits every surrounding, it can for example be assembled with monitors that have VESA mounts. USB 3.0, two network connectors, RAM up to 8GB and a processor that consumes a maximum of 10 Watts make the hardware of the WINDBOX II Quad up to date. Also in regards to the software this Mini-PC has its advantages: The WINDBOX II Quad is compatible with every Windows operating system starting at the 7th version, both for 32-bit and 64-bit systems.

Key data:

•    CPU: Intel J1900, 4x 2,0 GHz
•    Compatible with all Windows OS from version 7
•    Latest connectors such as USB 3.0

##Explore the spo-book WINDBOX II Quad

spo-book WINDBOX III Advanced

Together with MSI IPC (Micro Star International) we developed the spo-book WINDBOX III Advanced. It is equipped with a passive cooling system which protects the Mini-PC from dust and dirt and allows to have a complete silent working atmosphere (see also “Should I take an actively cooled or passively cooled Mini-PC?”). Supported by a RAM up to 16GB the Core i5 processor with Broadwell core that works with up to 2,7 GHz meets any kind of requirements. The DVI and DisplayPort connectors of the WINDBOX III Advanced ensure playing the same or different content on up to three monitors even in 4K resolution.

Key data:

•    CPU: Intel Core i5-5200U
•    Up to 3 independent displays
•    4x USB 3.0, 2x DisplayPort and 1x DVI-I

##Explore the spo-book WINDBOX III Advanced

##Explore the spo-book WINDBOX series

##Explore all Mini-PCs of the spo-comm product range

If you have any further questions feel free to contact us!

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products

The Mini-PC product series from spo-comm – Our Allrounder WINDBOX

To crown our series of articles about our product range we will introduce our WINDBOX series this week. The spo-book WINDBOX II Quad and the spo-book WINDBOX III Advanced stand for their versatile range of application, their reliability and their attractive price. The latest connectors such as HDMI or USB 3.0, a passive cooling system and a low power consumption are all integrated in these Mini-PCs and make it possible to use the WINDBOX in the industrial sector, as a digital signage player or in the logistics field.
14 Jun 2016 Array ( [id] => 192 [title] => Should I take an actively cooled or passively cooled Mini-PC? [authorId] => [active] => 1 [shortDescription] => It’s underestimated quite often how important it is to make the right choice regarding the cooling architecture of your Mini-PC. Especially location and operation purpose play an important role here. What you definitely should know in any case about the two different types of cooling and which advantages and disadvantages they bring along, you will learn here. [description] =>

Active Cooling

This option is the most common type of cooling. One speaks of an active cooling of your PC if the hardware is cooled down by a stream of air from one or more ventilators. The faster the rotational speed the cooler the hardware. The air ventilation automatically adapts, thanks to “SmartFan”, to the capacity utilization of the PC and rotates, as necessary, sometimes faster and sometimes slower.

Advantages of active cooling:

  • Even if the air needs to have some room inside of the computer, in order to circulate properly, actively cooled systems are generally slimmer than fanless systems.
  • You can achieve good cooling results, even with high-performance hardware.
  • It is a cheap solution compared to passively cooled PCs.

Disadvantages of active cooling:

  • Since the fans are most likely affected by wearing, they have, depending on use, a relatively shorter life.
  • The noise level: Even at low utilization the fan will always be audible.

How do I know if active cooling is the right choice for my purpose?

Mostly active cooling for a PC is useful if the environment of the site allows the warm air to go out in order to prevent heat accumulation. For instance this can happen if an Embedded-PC is mounted in steles, tables or walls.
Also active cooling is useful when processors and graphic cards experience a temperature rise above-average, due to applications which need a lot of hardware resources.

Passive Cooling

First of all the most striking contrast to the active cooling here is that there is no fan used for a passive solution.
Due to heat sinks which are integrated in the systems, like thermally conductive metal, the produced heat is transported to the outside, via lamellar cooling fins on the housing of the computer.

Advantages of passive cooling:

  • Silent working with simultaneous use of an SSD (See: “Shall I go for an HDD or SSD?”).
  • Robustness by massive PC cases and compact constructions.
  • High durability of the systems.
  • Systems are often completely closed and not prone to dust, sawdust and the like.
  • Extended range of temperature.
  • Above mentioned advantages both count for outdoor and vehicle installations.

Disadvantages of passive cooling:

  • Performance of the systems is limited (compared with actively cooled PCs of the same size), since high performance requires a bigger heat sink.
  • The environment has, to a certain degree, to provide thermal discharge in order to prevent heat accumulation.
  • More expensive compared to actively cooled systems.

How do I know if passive cooling is the right choice for my purpose?

There are so many opportunities that we actually don’t really know where to start. Wide application areas are rough environments like factory work rooms, workshops or production facilities since the fanless computers are less prone to dust or similar. Even installations in, for instance, steles, walls or in the open air where it sometimes can be a bit colder than usual, but you nevertheless have to rely on the computer. Not to mention in open-plan offices where every little noise reduction is a boon for the staff, passively cooled systems are always welcome.

Conclusion

If you attach importance to an increased durability and robustness of your product, we recommend to invest some extra cash and to opt for a passively cooled solution. Those who don’t want to lower their sights regarding performance and size of the Mini-PC are well served with the classical actively cooled alternative.

##spo-comm PCs with active cooling

 

##spo-comm PCs with passive cooling

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know-how

Should I take an actively cooled or passively cooled Mini-PC?

It’s underestimated quite often how important it is to make the right choice regarding the cooling architecture of your Mini-PC. Especially location and operation purpose play an important role here. What you definitely should know in any case about the two different types of cooling and which advantages and disadvantages they bring along, you will learn here.