Thinclients - For Kids?

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Hardware' started by Phido, Nov 26, 2019.

  1. th3_hawk

    th3_hawk Member

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    Remember that recommended means where you get the ideal performance. They have clearly set the bar pretty low which allows plenty of people to access it, it doesn't say it wont run on a modern machine.
     
  2. th3_hawk

    th3_hawk Member

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    MS have committed to maintaining IE in Windows 10 as legacy until the end of Windows 10 support... so all those big name businesses that still require it are fine for a while yet even if Edge doesn't support it. (I know plenty of businesses that still point people towards IE even on Windows 10, mine included).
     
  3. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Caveat emptor: Windows 10 is likely to be the last major versioned release of Windows ever, as Microsoft switch to a rolling release model from here on out.

    I think you'll find that they'll announce IE support up until the end of a particular LTSB/LTSC release, and then pull it, even as Windows powers on forwards.
     
  4. power

    power Member

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    pfft desktop as a service is the future.
     
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  5. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Apparently this has a lot of ex-AmigaOS devs working on it.
     
  6. power

    power Member

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    25 posts to a retro related post, i like it.
     
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  7. OP
    OP
    Phido

    Phido Member

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    This is what makes me want to go with win 10 rather than earlier versions of windows.
    Considering linux, but will see how these things function with win 10. Educational software, its been a key market for commercial software (apple and microsoft).

    However, given the machines will basically have nothing saved locally. Re-imaging them for Linux shouldn't be an issue. I might try out both and see how we go.
     
  8. demiurge3141

    demiurge3141 Member

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    Why not just run the thin clients as they are supposed to? Run a remote desktop client and be down with it?
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Phido

    Phido Member

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    Home environment with no server.

    Besides, its not like installing win10 is hard. As I said you can buy them with it preinstalled. They are probably more powerful than most peoples notebooks. A lot of people are still running weak I3's or celerons. My Work box is a I5 with a 1Gb spinning hard disk with 8 gb ram. I suspect these are faster and more usable than those.
     
  10. chook

    chook Member

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    Linux live disk version? You can pick up super cheap second hand thin clients at various places and just boot off a USB stick. Jobs done (if Linux will support the software).
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Phido

    Phido Member

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    $120 delivered for the quad core is I thought pretty decent. They are brand new sealed in box. They have a 64 GB SSD which is plenty for anything you want. I am curious if linux supports everything.

    I've got an older thin client for retro computing that was $80 but included a 19" lcd and keyboard and mouse.

    They arrived today!
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Phido

    Phido Member

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    Well they turned up and I am trying to install Win 10

    Firstly:

    They are tiny. I thought the retro thinclient HP t5720 was pretty small, these t630 are smaller than that. These are powered by the same class as an Xbox One S (only 4 cores at 2.0Ghz) and the same sort of GPU. So they aren't wimpy.
    Opening them up. Well bring your watch makers screwdrivers, as these things are tiny. The heatsink it attached with 4 main screws which are clearly visible and a stealthy black one hidden in the corner. It is frustrating to open up, so I wouldn't want to be doing it every day. Once off you can access the Mini-PCI-E slot and the SSD module. The Mini-PCI-E slot doesn't seem to have any screws to affix the card and accessing the antenna out holes is pretty tricky, if you want internal wifi know that this is going to be a tricky thing to setup, I have ordered some laptop internal wifi antenna, but they haven't arrived yet, not sure how well they will work, as the case is entirely encased in metal. The ram is easily up gradable and doesn't require you to move the heatsink. There looks to be two slots. There is a SATA port. There might be a way to get power too for a SATA SSD.

    Also they only have PS/2 for the keyboard. Just FYI. But they still have 2 rs232 and a parallel port (POS terminals i suppose)

    Win10 wants to be internet connected to install... yet doesn't have wifi yet...

    Wifi bridge to the rescue..
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
  13. OP
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    Phido

    Phido Member

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    Ok Win10 is installed on one of the machines. Seems fast enough, although it seems to detect it as a dell machine and take you through some overtly complex dell type win10 install. But it works. The reading eggs website works just fine and Win 10 takes up only 18Gb so there is over 40Gb free. So these are entirely usable as light duty stand alone win10 machines. Sure I won't burden an adult with such a setup, for a 6 year old, perfect. Most things are web based, so maybe just open office and Age of empires and Chrome and thats it..

    I can't get the PCI-E Wifi working. It isn't detected I am wondering if they are disabled or if there is some bios setting. Perhaps they only work with Dell wifi cards. Anyway. If you need wifi with this device I suggest you get one with it already installed (which tends to raise the price significantly), or go with a wifi usb dongle or a Wifi ethernet bridge. My $10 PCIE Wifi card is wasted in this machine. Using a USB dongle also takes up a valuable USB port, and you still don't have bluetooth. With wireless head phones available at BigW for $20.

    Its powerful enough to play Youtube high res video, but it does take around 40% of the CPU power across all 4 cores. There is a 1,6Ghz dual core version of this thinclient and I would think that would probably struggle to play youtube at 1080p in win10. The new youtube codec doesn't take advantage of the GPU acceleration, so GPU use is only 1-2% while playing. The dual core ones are a fair bit cheaper, however, with less than half the CPU power and a weaker GPU I think they would struggle as a Win 10 box. The kids love watching youtube videos of machines doing thing, and with youtube kids, I am not too worry about letting them loose with me sitting next to them on another computer. I can setup a play list and they can watch 2 or 3 videos of potatoes being peeled or oranges being juiced or donuts being cooked.

    However even at 40-50% CPU use, it's completely silent. No moving parts, no fans, no whine, no buzz. Big plus in my book. Shame it probably would struggle with 4k otherwise it would be a great HTPC. Its realistic as a bedroom PC or in an area where people sleep nearby or if you wanted to add some browsing capability to your TV at home. With 40% used, the machine is still very responsive and so I imagine it will probably survive the next few Youtube codec changes.

    It is also powerful enough to play minecraft in a web browser at about 50 FPS at 1280x1024. Which is his new favorite thing.
    20191130_184010.jpg
    Here he sits, we need to work out the seating position and table height, ergonomics are quite bad.

    Certainly web browsing and doing normal things, no problems at all, quite snappy. While it is noticeable going from my main machine (1060 3GB + 3700x + 32GB ram + 1GB HP920 SSD) to it, it still feels faster than the 8 gen i5 with intel IGP I have at work (with no SSD). The 64GB ssd goes a long way.

    They have an small internal speaker, which is interesting. I think I will leave it enabled as I can hear what he is doing.. It does have a front headphone socket and a front USB ports for headsets.

    I can see also installing
    • DOS BOX - Qbasic and DOS stuff. Maybe some games like Digdug etc?
    • A C64 emulator. Because C64 games, sounds and basic programming. I just find that whole, big font enviroment pleasing for kids.
    • I want to get him interested in programming. I am also thinking about starting him on ScratchJnr, a programming language for kids aged 5-7. After this they can use Scratch as that is designed for 8+ ages. C64 basic I think is ideal for 6+ year olds as well.
    This project has also soaked up pretty much all my spare retro keyb, usb mice, etc. It also feels like for the first time, I am running an actual LAN, now with 4 users on it. Also these thin clients can't sit on the monitor like some can, which would neaten up the space behind the monitors. I wonder how the wifi will hold up if all four of us are using it for video etc?
     
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  14. OP
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    Phido

    Phido Member

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    Well just for the hell of it, I thought I would download Cinebench r20 and give it a run.

    Which really exposed the weaknesses here.

    Downloading and unzipping a 220Mb file is effortless on my Ryzen box and done in a blink (<5 seconds), took minutes for each task on it. The read speeds weren't much better. The CPU was easily bottlenecked by the slow SSD performance. SSD seems to have pretty terrible write speeds, which isn't that surprising for a thin client. Think SD card speeds, not SSD speed.

    Then the Cinebench run took forever, quite a few times I thought it had locked up before it even started rendering. The Rendering in Cinebench is painful to watch, each little box seemingly taking forever to fill. Many minutes later it had finished.

    It scored a total of 324 cinebench points in R20. While that sounds pathetic, it isn't far off an i5 5300u 2.3Ghz (2C/4T) which scores 541. So its 60% as fast as an I5, Launch in Q1 2015, 14nm CPU. So like using a 2015 light notebook. Yes, it will load Win10, it takes <20 seconds to boot. But anything even mildly demanding and its starts to fall over. Not horrid, but you wouldn't want to be regularly zipping and unzipping files. We are in fast celeron quad core territory here. Which is miles off the monster 8 core desktops we now have even in the mid range.

    Which is why if you wanted something better, a A320, athlon CPU would easily provide it. But thats $80 for a motherboard, then the CPU, then the SSD, then the ram, a case a PSU, etc. You can be up for $300 minimum. You can buy these starting at ~$80 for a pleb model, which includes everything but a kb, mouse and video. You could easily fit I think 6 of these into the volume of my mITX Ncase. For the $120 you do get a Win10 capable machine (just) right out of the box, including case and PSU.

    I can certainly see the attraction of a thinclient. You need a small box for the garage, something you can surf the web, with plenty of RS232 to talk to ancient ECU programmers, multi-meters, IC programmers, maybe a parallel port for experiments etc, this kind of machine is great. Maybe a file server. Maybe as something to interact with your more obscure or ancient hardware. Maybe just as a Terminal running VNC. Maybe you just want something silent that can play 1080p youtube. Maybe you want it setup as a proper RDC. Maybe you want another box for Unreal tournament 2004 or Quake 3. I can see how they are just fine as a POS machine.

    Or just two light weight machines for the kids so they don't hog your box, and they need something more powerful/less cumbersome than a tablet. Perfect. 6 years time they will have out grown it and need something decent for high school. No worries, this the sort of tiny rugged, low power machine for them. These will no doubt go to live on in the mancave for some other purpose.
     
  15. OP
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    Phido

    Phido Member

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    Here is the windows performance tool output..
    upload_2019-11-30_22-32-46.png

    Which translates into a windows experience of:

    upload_2019-11-30_22-40-5.png
     
  16. OP
    OP
    Phido

    Phido Member

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    Found some 4Gb Sodimm ddr3 and shoved it in. This was for a laptop that later got destroyed I think the ram cost like $10. So now one machine has 8GB of ram..

    Maybe a tad better in browsing, doesn't have to go to disk. The SSD is quite slow for a SSD, particularly for writes, but in reads its no blaster. <260Mb/s at best. So its well off the pace for Sata ssd, but again, that doesnt make a huge performance difference in day to day tasks. It takes about 16 seconds to boot past the bios screen.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
  17. OP
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    Phido

    Phido Member

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    Also got the wifi/bt module working.. Apparently I had mixed up a MSATA card with my Wifi card.
    Of course it doesn't work without antenna.. But it loads up in windows now.
     
  18. Aetherone

    Aetherone Member

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    Oh c'mon elvis, surely you know that running a wildly out-of-date and security colander browser is better than fixing your ie6 web app hack interface to dos interface to the dusty cobol mainframe in the basement with 35 years of outsourced dev and hacks and perhaps three hundred whole lines of documentation; most of which are "wtf is this?" "how does this work" "don't touch this unless you wanna nuke the dbase"...

    Life is better with the spice of danger & a soup├žon of imminent failure :p

    Honestly, I can't believe nobody suggested: X gamers, 1 CPU
     
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  19. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Oh yeah, I'm well aware of manglement's woefully inadequate attempt at risk assessment.
     
  20. power

    power Member

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    if you want to linux try a TC OS like thinstation or similar. if you want to try it without touching the drive just grab the live cd and rufus it.
     

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