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Thin clients are Dell’s smallest yet

May 25, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 69 views

Dell announced two fanless thin clients claimed to be the smallest OptiPlex systems yet. The Dell OptiPlex FX170 and OptiPlex FX130 thin clients offer a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 and Via Eden ULV processor respectively, and include 1GB of RAM, 1GB or 2GB of flash, a gigabit Ethernet port, four USB 2.0 ports, and a DVI-I port with optional dual display support, says the company.

In 2009, thin client vendor Devon IT announced a SafeBook E5400X portable thin client based on Dell's Latitude E5400. Now Devon IT is returning the favor by supplying its TC5c and TC2 desktop thin clients to Dell for rebranding as the OptiPlex FX170 and OptiPlex FX130, respectively. (Earlier OptiPlex FX-branded Dell thin clients include the circa-2008, Intel Atom 230/330-based OptiPlex FX160.)

FX130 (left) and FX170

The FX170 is designed for knowledge-based workers focused on multimedia and content creation, while the FX130 is better suited for application and task-based environments, says Dell. The FX130 (also available as a similarly TC2-based system from IBM) comes standard with Devon IT's DeTOS Linux distribution. The FX170 provides a choice between DeTOS and Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 2009, says the company.

The two thin clients offer similar thin client protocol support, including RDP (remote desktop protocol), ICA (independent computing architecture), PCoIP, and X11, and also provide Devon IT Echo Management Console Dell Edition for centralized remote management, says Dell. Both allow access to Citrix XenApp or XenDesktop, Microsoft Remote Desktop Services, VMware View, and web-based applications, says the company.

Both systems are identically sized at 6.14 x 4.7 x 1.42 inches, and feature fairly similar power consumption — 11 Watts idle for the FX170 and nine Watts for the FX130. The power differential is due to the fact that the cross-platform FX170 is equipped with a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270, while the FX130 gets Via Technologies' 1GHz Via Eden CPU and VX855 chipset, says Dell.

Memory is the same 1GB of DDR2 RAM on both systems, as is the 1GB of flash storage, unless one is running Windows on the FX170, in which case it doubles to 2GB flash. The devices are further equipped with a gigabit Ethernet ports, four USB 2.0 ports, and a DVI-I port that can support VGA with an included adapter. An optional dual display function is also available, according to the company.

A PS/2 slot and audio I/O round out the mix, along with a speaker, a Kensington lock, and an optional VESA mount. Firefox is offered as the browser except for the Windows version of the FX170, which offers Internet Explorer.

Features and specifications listed for the FX170 and FX130 include:

  • Processor:
    • FX170 — Intel Atom N270 @ 1.6GHz with Intel 945GSE + ICH-7M chipset
    • FX130 — Via Eden ULV @ 1GHz with Via VX855 chipset (FX130)
  • Memory — 1GB DDR2 667MHz; 1GB (DeTOS Linux) or 2GB (Windows) flash memory
  • Networking — 1 x gigabit Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • 4 x USB 2.0 (2 x front-facing)
    • DVI-I (supports VGA with included adapter; optional dual-monitor support)
    • Audio line in, line out
    • PS/2
  • Other features — Kensington lock; foot stand; optional VESA mount; 1-Watt speaker
  • Protocols — RDP, ICA, PCoIP, X11
  • Browser — Firefox with Java (FX130 and FX170 with DeTOS); Internet Explorer (FX170 Windows)
  • Remote management — Devon IT Echo Management Console Dell Edition
  • Dimensions — 6.14 x 4.7 x 1.42 inches (156 x 121 x 36mm)
  • Weight:
    • FX170 — 1.44 lbs
    • FX130 — 1.14 lbs
  • Power consumption:
    • FX170 — 11W idle
    • FX130 — 9W idle

Dell also announced additions to its desktop virtualization portfolio, including a new version 2.0 of Dell Virtual Lab. Designed for colleges and universities, Dell Virtual Lab 2.0 offers validation testing on six of the most popular lab-based applications, available virtually from any device. Applications include Adobe Premiere Pr CS3, AutoCad 2DLT, Wolfram Mathmatica 7, Mathworks MatLab, SAS, and IBM SPSS, says the company.

Both Dell Virtual Lab and the new OptiPlex thin clients are designed to work with the recently announced Dell Desktop Virtualization Solutions (DDVS), which "leverages pre-packaged services with configured and tested hardware and software to deliver the datacenter architecture necessary to provide desktop virtualization capabilities," according to Dell.

Dell also announced a Devon IT VDI Blaster Dell Edition app, meanwhile, which is said to convert standalone PCs into a thin client system.


The new Dell OptiPlex thin clients are available on May 26 in the U.S. and Western Europe, priced at $449 (Dell OptiPlex FX170) and $349 (OptiPlex FX130). More information may be found in this OptiPlex FX130 and FX170 data sheet (PDF).

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