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High-end thin clients run SUSE Linux on AMD processors

Oct 20, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 30 views

Wyse announced what it claims to be the industry's fastest thin clients using SUSE Linux. Using AMD's single-core T52R clocked at 1.5GHz or dual-core T56N clocked at 1.6GHz, the Z50 is a desktop device whose features include DVI-I and DisplayPort video outputs, while the X50m is a mobile thin client that apparently combines an AMD CPU with a 14-inch display.

Wyse announced two new SUSE Linux-powered thin clients Oct. 19, touting them as "high-performance devices capable of running advanced applications and multimedia with uncompromised quality." Both products are actually revamps of products released earlier this year with Microsoft's Windows Embedded Standard 7 operating system, but we're guessing the switch to a nimbler, open source operating system will result in lower pricing.

Like the Windows-powered Z90 that preceded it, the new Z50 (right) employs two of the embedded-specific G-Series processors announced earlier this month by AMD: 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). Wyse cited 3D business graphics performance "187 percent better than the next closest leading competitor's product" when it released the Z90, and the same presumably applies to the Z50.

Like the Z90, the Z50 also gets dual USB 3.0 ports, which operate up to ten times faster than USB 2.0. Alas, an asterisk on the device's product page led us to the disclosure that USB 3.0 support is "currently not available in Wyse SUSE Linux."

However, the Z50 also has both two USB 2.0 ports and audio I/O 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 Z50's rear panel in standard (left) and legacy (right) editions
(Click either to enlarge)

Wireless networking is offered, but the fiber NIC and Bluetooth 2.1 options that were listed for the Z90 are not cited here. A VESA mounting bracket is available for the six-pound system, according to Wyse.

Specifications released by Wyse for the Z50 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 2GB to 4GB of RAM
  • Storage — from 2GB to 64GB 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
    • WLAN — 802.11b/g/n (optional)
  • Other I/O:
    • 4 x USB 2.0 (2 front, 2 rear)
    • 2 x USB 3.0 (not yet supported by OS)
    • 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 — 50 to 104 deg. F (10 to 40 deg. C)
  • Dimensions — 8.85 x 7.87 x 1.85 inches
  • Weight — 6 pounds

The X50m mobile thin client

Wyse's announcement of its new X50m mobile thin client was accompanied by little information, and no product page for the device had appeared at the time of writing. We're going to go out on a limb, however, and assume that it's essentially a Linux version of the Windows-packing X90m7 Wyse announced in May. (At the time, the company said a SUSE Linux-powered version was planned.)

The X90m7 mobile thin client (right) joined earlier models (such as Wyse's 11.6-inch, Intel Atom-powered X90CW) in being essentially a notebook computer sans hard drive. Again with AMD's dual-core T56N processor, it includes a 14-inch display with 1366 x 768-pixel resolution, from 2GB to 4GB or RAM, and from 4GB to 32GB of flash storage.

Like the desktop T90 discussed earlier, the mobile X90m7 includes dual video outputs (here, DisplayPort and VGA rather than a DVI-I/DisplayPort combo). And, it again sports two USB 3.0 ports, whether Wyse's SUSE Linux is ready for them or not.

Ports on Wyse's X90m7
(Click to enlarge)

Other interfaces, as pictured above, include gigabit Ethernet, a USB 2.0 port, a microphone input, and a headphone output. The X90m7, which has a 1.3 megapixel webcam, can also be fitted with an optional smart card reader, according to Wyse.

Internally, the X90m7 has an ExpressCard slot that may be used to install an optional 3G/4G cellular modem, supplementing the device's native 802.11a/b/g/n wireless networking capabilities, Wyse says.

Wyse said in May that the X90m7 has a six-cell, 5,200mAh battery, but doesn't specify how many hours of cordless operation this provides. (We'd expect it to hold out for five or six hours, given both our experience with AMD G-Series CPUs and the fact that the X90m7 lacks a rotating drive.)

Specifications listed for the X90m7 by Wyse, and presumably mostly applicable to the X50m, include:

  • Processor — AMD T56N (dual-cores, 1.6GHz clock speed, 18-Watt TDP)
  • Chipset — n/s, but AMD A50M presumed
  • Memory — from 2GB to 4GB of RAM
  • Storage — from 4GB to 32GB of flash storage
  • Display — 14-inch display with 1366 x 768 pixel resolution
  • Webcam — 1.3 megapixel
  • Expansion — ExpressCard slot; optional smart card reader
  • Networking:
    • LAN — gigabit Ethernet
    • WLAN — 802.11a/b/g/n
    • WWAN — "3G/4G" via ExpressCard slot
  • Other I/O:
    • 1 x USB 2.0 (2 front, 2 rear)
    • 2 x USB 3.0
    • VGA
    • DisplayPort
    • audio — mic in and headphones out
  • Power — 5,200mAh six-cell battery; 17 Watts average power usage
  • Operating range — 50 to 104 deg. F (10 to 40 deg. C)
  • Dimensions — 13.44 x 9.41 x 1.39 inches
  • Weight — 3.96 pounds with battery

Further information

Wyse did not detail pricing for either the Z50 or the X50m but said both thin clients will be available late in the fourth quarter. Further information on the Z50 may be found on the Z50 product page.

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

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