Processors, graphics cards, solid state drives and much more is all in this section of the site!
The first thing that will strike you about any thin client is how small (in physical dimensions) they are and the 5818v is no exception. In the past this small size meant poor hardware specifications; however, this time is long behind us.
The 5818v comes with 2GB of DDR3 RAM, a Intel Atom D2550 dual core CPU, 16GB of local storage (the SSD like disk on memory), 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet and Intel GMA 3650 graphics (it won’t run Crysis but is ideal for Flash video).
In true keeping with the idea of thin computing (frugal on power, waste and dimensions) the packing for the 5818v is small and includes the power adapter, cable and a mouse making for quick and easy deployments. You also get a stand and DVI-VGA adapter included in the box.
As far as licencing goes the Windows OEM sticker is included on the DOM meaning no sticky labels to peel off the case.
A hidden surprise comes in the concealed secure USB port which can be used to integrate wireless adapters (Wi-Fi/keyboard + mouse adapters) or USB memory sticks (could be used for BitLocker drive encryption).
For more take a look at the screenshot sequence below…
One of the great features of the 10ZiG 5818v is the WE8 operating system. Based upon Windows 8 this thin client includes the same software that makes full Windows 8 PCs fast most notably kernel hibernation. The premise goes that when you click Shutdown on your PC the core components of Windows are hibernated and saved to a single file which is very fast to read.
In testing the 5818v took a little over 41 seconds to start up without kernel hibernation turned on, with it turned on boot time to a usable PC was just over 21 seconds that’s a 2x improvement just by turning on a software feature!
In this series of posts I’m going to be looking at the all new 10ZiG 5818v Thin Client.
Recently released and coming with Intel Atom D2550 CPU this thin client sets its self apart from others with the introduction of Windows Embedded 8 (WE8).
WE8 is essentially a cut down version of Windows 8 that is focused on devices that have limited storage space and are designed to fill a single role (like digital signage players, connectivity to Remote Desktop Services Farms and connectivity to VDI like Citrix VDI-in-a-Box).
Through this series of posts I’m going to be looking at the hardware of the thin client, the WE8 operating system including the tweaks 10ZiG have made to it as well as the performance of the thin client when connected to VDI sessions.
After unboxing and powering on my first impressions of the 5818v have been very positive particularly around
- UEFI boot with a boot time of around 25s
- The low power consumption
- The array of ports
- The robustness of design
Recently I came across a need to update the BIOS of a number of Dell PCs, given that the PCs were due to be re-imaged it made sense to perform the update as part of the System Centre Configuration Manager 2012 task sequence process.
To kick this process off you will need
- A need to update the BIOS – you should only update the BIOS on a PC if a later revision fixes a particular issue you are having (in my case it was a wake on LAN issue)
- The BIOS update files from the Dell Support site – on occasion you may need to perform a staged update process, for example on the Dell Optiplex 390 to go from Revision A01 to A10 you must first update to A02.
The first step of this process requires that you put the BIOS update in as a Package, follow the guide below to see how this is done.
Please note – this guide only applies to the ‘newer’ packaged style of Dell BIOS updates, the steps to identify if you have one of the newer style packages can be seen in the first three screen shots.
Next you need to include the package in the SCCM task sequence, during the process you will need this WMI query (contained within the download to make copy/paste easy)
BIOS WMI query (83 bytes, 36 hits)
A few points to note
- You do not want the BIOS update to trigger the restart – (I have never been able to get this to work without causing a error and stopping the task sequence)
- If you have one of the older BIOS versions you may find this list of legacy command line switches useful.
Nokia phones were reportedly the first to get the update however other users with phones like the HD7 have also reported that the update has started to appear on their phones. Some Windows Phone users have also found that they can force the update to install using the .cab update files provided by Microsoft and some custom installation tools.
The only issue with these methods it could be possible to ‘brick’ your phone leaving you with a out of warranty void lump of metal and plastic.
The easy way to get the update is to get Zune to do the heavy lifting for you, to force the update through Zune just follow these steps
- Put your phone in flight mode (this prevents the phone from checking if it can update or not)
- Connect the phone up to your PC and let it sync with Zune
- Once synced go to Settings > Phone > Update
- You will see it try and update – this will fail but….
- Now click on one of the other settings
- Then click back on Update and about 4-6 seconds in remove your PCs network cable/turn off Wi-Fi and if you time it right you will be told that an update is available for your phone!
- The 7.8 update comes in a number of steps so you may have to repeat steps 5 & 6 a few times
- Once complete enjoy your up to date Windows Phone!
If anyone is wondering I’ve already completed the update on my HTC Pro 7.
A little while back in response to a poorly researched article on a tech website I decided I would list out the parts I would use of building a basic gaming PC for less than £350. With Windows 8 and AMDs latest FM2 socket processors now out it seemed to make sense to update that article.
So for a mere £349.28 from dabs.com (at time of publishing including postage) here is what you should be looking at getting.
Just one thing before I go any further – proper gaming PCs that run games at their very highest detail are expensive items of kit (£650+) if that’s what you are looking for then this is not the PC for you. However if you are after something to keep the kids happy or just like to dabble in gaming and are happy with medium levels of graphics detail then this is ideal for you!
CPU/Graphics – AMD A10-5800K – £95.26 At the top of the line of the new FM2 socket APUs (CPU and GPU combined) is the A10-5800K with its quad core design and 3.8Ghz clock speed its one mean machine with professional review websites (link) showing that it performs very well for basic gaming.
Motherboard – ASRock FM2A55M – £37.41 This basic motherboard comes with 4 USB ports, DVI and VGA monitor ports and the 2 SATA cables you will need for the hard drive and DVD drive.
RAM – Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600Mhz – £30.99 Plenty of RAM is a must for gaming these days especially as the APU uses system RAM for graphics. With 5 star customer reviews across the board on dabs.com you can’t go wrong!
Hard drive – Seagate 500GB Barracuda – £41.98 Its a hard drive, its got 500GB of storage space, if you need a bigger one get a bigger one…not much else to say!
DVD drive – LiteOn DVD-RW – £12.68 I’d like to believe that most people have a old PC lying around somewhere that they can use the DVD drive out of but if you need one (to install Windows/Games) then this will meet your needs.
Operating System – Microsoft Windows 8 – 64-bit – £69.99 Windows 8 is out, with a new Windows store for casual games (Hydro Thunder and Angry Birds included!) its an easy choice for any new gaming PC. You also get the added bonus of the latest version of DirectX which is used in the latest games.
Case and power supply – Fractal Design Core 1000 & OCZ Technology 500W CoreXStream – £27.99 & £31.99 Fractal design are very attentive in the design and manufacturing of their products with premium features (like dust covers and anti vibration grommets for the hard drives) showing up in very affordable cases. Going for the OCZ power supply over generic unbranded ones is a good call as you get the assurance of 80+percent power supply efficacy which will help make sure your new PC isn’t chewing through power needlessly.
Its hard to not know about Xbox but one thing you may not know about it is that you can use your Xbox Controller with Windows PCs (if you have a wireless controller you will need one of the Windows PC wireless receivers).
What makes this even better is you arn’t limited to using it with Windows 8 but also Windows RT (just as you would find on Microsoft Surface), all you need to do is follow the instruction guide in the video below.
Naturally only games that are designed to use the controller will work with it – the best way to find those games is to put Xbox Controller into the search box.
Encryption still seems to be a bit of a dirty word in the world of IT – all to often we hear about a notebook PC being stolen and that it had unencrypted data on it. Luckily the Microsoft Surface RT comes with encryption built in right out of the box and to make things even better it
- Uses the same Bitlocker Encryption that you will find and trust in Windows 7/8
- Uses a v2.0 TPM chip that is built into Surface RT (which keeps the encryption keys safe)
- The fact that Encryption is enabled is highly visible through My Computer and also the Bitlocker management tool
- Is turned on right out of the box without having to wait for any additional setup or ‘encryption time’ – just take it out of the box and you are already protected from data loss
Naturally encryption is only one part of any decent security policy and users should be using strong password to help protect your PC.
One of the new features included in Windows 8 that helps with security is Picture Password more details of which can be found at this link here.
Lets all face it we don’t live in the paperless office…yet…and from time to time you will find a need to print something. With most modern tablets printing maybe an issue, maybe you will be lucky have you have the latest HP printer next to you with Apple AirPrint (to see the rather short list click here) but if you are like most people out there that just wont be the case.
Just in case anyone asks if you have a network printer (Wi-Fi or LAN) then yes you can print to it as well from Windows RT just hop into Settings > Devices and from there your tablet will search out any printers available in your network.
So Microsoft Surface + Windows RT + USB Port + Printer = work anywhere the way you want!
To check if your printer is compatible with Windows RT (because some older models might not be) just visit the Microsoft website at this link here.
In this video I look at how you can run a full PowerPoint presentation from your Microsoft Surface RT tablet PC.
The key thing about Windows RT over other mobile operating systems is the inclusion of a full version of Office 2013 which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
This means if you go to present a PowerPoint that you made on your desktop it will show the same on your Windows tablet as well – animations included (something you wont get for sure on the cut down editions on other tablet PCs).
The other thing that surface holds above all others is its inclusion of a full USB port and mini HDMI (adaptable to VGA) port – this added advantage of a USB port means you can use your wireless presentation remote just as you would on a notebook PC.
So to find out more sit back relax and watch the video above