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‘Fastest-ever’ thin clients get Linux versions

Aug 29, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 34 views

Wyse announced that its “fastest thin clients ever” are now shipping and added two new Linux versions. All are powered by AMD's single-core T52R clocked at 1.5GHz or dual-core T56N clocked at 1.6GHz, but the Z90D7 and Z90DW run Windows Embedded Standard 7 and Windows Embedded Standard 2009, respectively, while the Z50S and Z50D run SUSE Linux Enterprise, according to the company.

The four thin clients Wyse promoted Aug. 29 in conjunction with VMWare's VMWorld 2011 event are actually variants of the Z90 (pictured), which the company first announced in January. The device is offered with two of the embedded-specific G-Series processors announced in January: either the single-core T52R (1.5GHz clock speed and 18-Watt TDP) or dual-core T56N (1.6GHz clock speed, also with 18-Watt TDP).

Both these chips include AMD Radeon HD6310 graphics, providing DirectX 11, support for OpenCL 1.1, OpenGL 3.2 and 2.1, plus dedicated hardware for HD video (H.264, VC-1, and MPEG2 decoding). The Z90 was said to include from 1GB to 4GB of RAM, and from 4GB to 32GB of RAM — the most impressive totals we'd encountered in a thin client device.

According to Wyse, it's now shipping the Windows Embedded Standard 7-based Z90D7 and the Windows Embedded Standard 2009-based Z90DW. All are listed on a single product page along with Z90SW and Z90SW models, so it's hard to discern hardware nuances, but the Z90DW apparently has 1GB of RAM and 2GB of flash storage, while the Z90DW has 2GB of RAM and 4GB of flash storage (expandable, as mentioned earlier).

Meanwhile, the company says Z50S and Z50D models will combine the same choice of AMD processors with the SUSE Linux Enterprise operating system. Further details and a product page have not yet been provided, however, so we're unable to say for certain if the Z50S and Z50D will share the case that's described below.

Background on the Z90

Wyse has believably touted the Z90 as the world's best-performing thin client, citing 3D business graphics performance "187 percent better than the next closest leading competitor's product." According to the company, the device offers self-configuration, monthly security updates, a locked-down default user profile, and strong default passwords.

Upon its January introduction, the Z90 was also the world's first thin client to include dual USB 3.0 ports, which operate up to ten times faster than USB 2.0. This came as a surprise to us, since AMD did not cite this functionality for its A55E ("Hudson") I/O controller, which is presumably the one employed by Wyse.

According to Wyse, the Z90 has audio I/O and two USB 2.0 ports on its front panel, seen earlier in this story. The rear panel (below left) includes two video outputs (DVI-I and DisplayPort), two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and a gigabit Ethernet port. A "legacy" version of the device (below right) adds two RS232 ports, a PS/2 port, and a parallel printer port, the company says.

The Z90's rear panel in standard (left) and legacy (right) editions
(Click either to enlarge)

Other factory options are said to include 802.11b/g/n wireless networking, a fiber NIC, and Bluetooth 2.1. Also available for the six-pound system is a VESA mounting bracket, according to the company.

Features and specifications released by Wyse for the Z90 include:

  • Processor — single-core AMD G-Series T52R (1.5GHz clock speed and 18-Watt TDP) or dual-core T56N (1.6GHz clock speed, also with 18-Watt TDP)
  • Chipset — AMD A55E (presumed)
  • Memory — from 1GB to 4GB of RAM
  • Storage — from 2GB to 32GB of flash storage
  • Display — up to 2560 x 1600 pixels via DisplayPort, or 1920 x 1200 via DVI-I; 1920 x 1200 is maximum on either when both are being used
  • Networking:
    • LAN — gigabit Ethernet; fiber NIC (optional)
    • WLAN — 802.11b/g/n (optional)
    • PAN — Bluetooth 2.1
  • Other I/O:
    • 4 x USB 2.0 (2 front, 2 rear)
    • 2 x USB 3.0
    • DVI-I
    • DisplayPort
    • 2 x RS232 (optional)
    • 1 x PS/2 (optional)
    • 1 x parallel (optional)
    • audio — mic in and headphones out (front panel)
  • Power — via external AC adapter; 15 Watts average usage with keyboard, PS/2 mouse, and one monitor
  • Operating range — 32 to 104 deg. F (10 to 40 deg. C)
  • Dimensions — 8.85 x 7.87 x 1.85 inches
  • Weight — 6 pounds

Jonathan Angel can be reached at [email protected] and followed at

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