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Hardware Thread, Softxpand Miniframe in Technical; I had heard, but not checked out fully, that the X550's are compatible with Multipoint Server thus not needing vSpace. ...
  1. #166

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    I had heard, but not checked out fully, that the X550's are compatible with Multipoint Server thus not needing vSpace. I don't know if vSpace can run on top of MPS. If it can then about all I think I could realistically bring to the table is USB port mapping as that is currently missing in MPS.

    Also, I think the difference between nComputing, SoftXpand and MPS in how they work are quiet minimal. I'll wager that the nComputing hardware is nothing more than a USB graphics card and hub (in essance). I don't think that it is really a 'terminal server/thin client' product as has been suggested (probably wrong), the vSpace software just 'presents' the split extended display as RDP sessions. Certainly te HP MPS 'thin-clients' really are nothing more than USB graphics card + hub in a neat little box.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    all I think I could realistically bring to the table is USB port mapping as that is currently missing in MPS.
    Oh, so you can't assign a specific USB port to an MPS workstation, then? What happens - is any USB device you stick in any USB port simply available to all users?

    I'll wager that the nComputing hardware is nothing more than a USB graphics card and hub (in essance).
    That's rather what I'd guess as well, although the price is comparable with a 6-port graphics card and having a neat all-in-one solution is good, especially if you're trying to squeeze as many workstations as you can into a limited space in a classroom. I figured the 6-port graphics card option would probably give better performance, though, so I'd be interested to see any comparision benchmarks that anyone's run.

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  3. #168

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Oh, so you can't assign a specific USB port to an MPS workstation, then? What happens - is any USB device you stick in any USB port simply available to all users?
    That's pretty much it. All users can see any USB device you stick into any USB port. Not a big deal if you are actively promoting the use of a VLE/online storage rather than USB stick anyway, which we are.

    That's rather what I'd guess as well, although the price is comparable with a 6-port graphics card and having a neat all-in-one solution is good, especially if you're trying to squeeze as many workstations as you can into a limited space in a classroom. I figured the 6-port graphics card option would probably give better performance, though, so I'd be interested to see any comparision benchmarks that anyone's run.
    And the dedicated GPU, especially with ATi or nVidia chipsets, should give much, much better performance than any USB based graphics adaptor. I think this is the root of SoftXpands 'speed' over rivals as they predominalty use seperate internal GPU's rather than USB devices which their competitors favour.

    As I said to an HP rep when he came and viewed our MPS install - I wonder what difference using USB-3 would make to the USB 'thin-client' box they produce? If they used USB3, a better GPU and USB ports rather than PS/2 then it could be an ideal/neat solution.

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    Hi dhicks and tmcd35,

    I'm going to answer your questions as best I can in quick fire mode...

    I think it's fair to say that the NComputing X550 is like a terminal server.
    Correct - the NComputing X550 only offers PS/2 connectivity for KB and mouse...this means you're not restricted to the standard USB cable length, which I think is 5m.
    You can add a USB port to each workstation by assigning a USB port on the host PC to the workstation and running USB cables from the host PC to the desired workstation (just read that back and i'm not sure it makes sense, i'm sure you'll fathom it out though). This works really well for things like a USB memory stick.
    NComputing hardware is available of-the-shelf, so I'm probably being dumb and missing your point on that one, sorry.
    I do not work drectly for NComputing or for a reseller.
    If you are intending to use Windows Multipoint Server and desire USB connectivity for KB and mouse, I would suggest having a look at the NComputing U170.
    Regarding your question "vSpace performace or usability advantages over WMS"...why not try it?. If you're inetersted in doing some testing, then i'd be more than happy to lend you one of my NComputing U170's...you can make you're own mind up then.

  5. Thanks to vSpace from:

    dhicks (7th June 2010)

  6. #170

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    Quote Originally Posted by vSpace View Post
    the NComputing X550 only offers PS/2 connectivity for KB and mouse...this means you're not restricted to the standard USB cable length, which I think is 5m.
    But I seem to remember the length of the Cat5 cables you use to connect up the terminal units to the X550 PCI card have a similar length limit. Besides, if you assume each USB cable will be leading to a powered USB hib (I'd go for monitors with built-in hubs, myself), then you could use active USB extenders to run longer USB cable lengths - 10 or 15 metres should cover most classrooms.

    NComputing hardware is available of-the-shelf
    It's available from a limited number of resellers, generally by mail order, whereas I can go in to any highstreet PC shop and buy a multi-head graphics card.

    If you are intending to use Windows Multipoint Server and desire USB connectivity for KB and mouse, I would suggest having a look at the NComputing U170.
    But that would seem to miis out on the performance advantages of having each workstation be connected directly to the main computer. Surley the U170 is just competing with all the other Windows / RDP-capable thin-client devices out there?

    Regarding your question "vSpace performace or usability advantages over WMS"...why not try it?
    If a company wants to sell me their products, they can provide the performance statistics - we are too busy to individually test each manufacturer's hardware.

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    But I seem to remember the length of the Cat5 cables you use to connect up the terminal units to the X550 PCI card have a similar length limit.
    NComputing suggest that the max length of Cat5 cable from the X550 PCI card to the terminal is 10m.

    Besides, if you assume each USB cable will be leading to a powered USB hib (I'd go for monitors with built-in hubs, myself), then you could use active USB extenders to run longer USB cable lengths - 10 or 15 metres should cover most classrooms.
    There is a cheaper solution than buying monitors with built-in hubs. You can buy USB blanking plates and fix them on the desk next to the terminal.

    then you could use active USB extenders to run longer USB cable lengths - 10 or 15 metres should cover most classrooms.
    Yep, and you could hide the USB extenders and USB cables in trunking behind the desk, which leaves a much tidyier (spelling?!?) finish.

    It's available from a limited number of resellers, generally by mail order, whereas I can go in to any highstreet PC shop and buy a multi-head graphics card.
    See what you mean. Thank you for clarifying.

    But that would seem to miis out on the performance advantages of having each workstation be connected directly to the main computer. Surley the U170 is just competing with all the other Windows / RDP-capable thin-client devices out there
    The NComputing U170 does connect directly to the main computer. The U170 is a USB solution. Nice and simple connectivity without all the fuss. The U170 also has two additional USB ports for KB and mouse.

    If a company wants to sell me their products, they can provide the performance statistics - we are too busy to individually test each manufacturer's hardware.
    Yeah I'm pretty busy as well, so I completely empathise with you on that one

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    dhicks (7th June 2010)

  9. #172

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    I can go in to any highstreet PC shop and buy a multi-head graphics card.
    One of these, for instance:

    Slashdot Technology Story | One Video Card, 12 Monitors

    Or maybe two, then you could do a whole classroom in one go...

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    vSpace (9th June 2010)

  11. #173
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    WOW! That is a serious looking peice of kit!

    Any idea how much they cost?

    I would imagine you would need some serious cooling.

  12. #174

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    Quote Originally Posted by vSpace View Post
    I would imagine you would need some serious cooling.
    Even better - a link from that Slashdot article seems to reckon this motherboard could handle three of those cards:

    Image Gallery - The Tech Report

    That would let you run 36 terminals from one machine - easily enough to do a classroom and front-of-class display for the teacher. You can get 30-odd thin clients on a single machine, so there's no reason why you couldn't get 30-odd Multiseat users. I'm guessing you're right about the cooling, though - a decent-sized server with 3 of those cards in would need to be in an air-conditioned space of some sort. Just how feasible is running stacks of KVM connections around a building? Could you use basic cat5 for a reasonable-cost solution?

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    You'll have to look pretty hard to find a server with sufficient power, let alone PCI-E connectors to get 3 going. Even if you could find one with 3 sufficiently spaced x16 slots.

    There was that 4 x16 board iirc, with support for dual cpus, but it was rather expensive.

    Custom build would be fine though.

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    (sharp in take of breath ) sounds very very expensive to me...and I would suspect the cost would out weight the gains

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    NComputing and MS

    Hello, long time lurker, first time poster!

    To clear up the licensing issue r.e. NComputing and MS. NComputing had to dance to MS's tune but they would have been foolish not to. Remember that NComputing effectively hacks the MS OS to allow it to work, so MS really should have had more beef with NC, rather than the smaller players in the market Softxpand, Fiddlehead etc etc.. However that was the saving grace, NComputing through clever marketing and some of the best VC funding in Silly Valley, CA. Managed to get very big very quickly, so MS had two options 1) Take NC to task and shut them down (Not good PR for either company) 2) Get NC to be MS's (I am looking for a better expression, but cannot find one).. .. and then have two companies, one of them already established in Multiseat and the other just bringing a software to market needing quick and direct hits. It actually is a match made in Heaven and for us takes away the ambiguity r.e. licensing.

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    Oh and here's a link... NComputing News

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    SoftXpand licensing:

    Miniframe recently announced that they have appointed Londonweb as their exclusive UK distributor meaning Miniframe UK / Kira Supplies / Roger is now a VAR. Londonweb suggest that SoftXpand now follows the typical MS license path as per NComputing. Therefore: If you have an XP PC, you need to acquire an MPS 2010 OS license, and an MPS 2010 CAL per user. If joining the PC to the domain you need a TS CAL per user too. These licenses then go straight into the filing cabinet. Weirdly the EULA states that using a desktop O/S is against their PUR. Under the agreement with MS NComputing / Miniframe / FiddleHead / LG can’t “promote” the use of XP as the host OS.

    If you run SoftXpand on the 32 bit Server 2003/8 then multiple users can access a licensed instance of Windows Server if every accessing user or device has a Windows Server CAL and Remote Desktop Services CAL. XP is not needed but you'll sacrifice some desktop applications that won't run on the server O/S.

    Using MPS 2010:

    MPS 2010 is MSs dedicated multiseat computing O/S. NComputing vSpace brings nothing to the party if using MPS 2010 as the O/S. MPS 2010 is limited to 10 users, and SoftXpand is 8. Despite NComputing marketing material, I wouldn't go over a 10:1 ratio on the PC, and if you use the L series stick with a 15:1 ratio unless you're building a hybrid VDi.

    With regards using MPS 2010 at the moment there are 2 routes we've found work, and about 350 routes that don't. Clearly the HP multiseat computer with the old thin clients work as TMCD has proven. NComputing U170 / X550 still do not. The U170 is a VGA over USB hub, and the X550 is a KVM converter and neither support 64 bit so the O/S doesn't see them still. We've found a device from Tritton and MCS that are superb and work - You MUST check that the DisplayLink device you're buying works in 64 bit or else you'll be sending them back or switching to another O/S and then having to invest in SoftXpand or NComputing vSpace. The U170 doesn't have enough USB ports and feels like a rushed product. End users suggest that given the choice they'd go with the X550 over the U170 although the U170 is great to keep in the cupboard in case a PC goes down. That's a great idea and at 100 RRP seems like a bargain.

    The best results we've had is the VeryPC GreenHive appliance for MPS2010 which uses multiple graphics cards and 4 port USB hubs a la SoftXpand - Microsoft will be releasing a global case study showcasing this install. VeryPC have found a way to improve performance with some graphics processing, cpu balancing, however SoftXpand is still the only one to truly deliver a true PC performance for up to 6 users - I have heard there will be a launch of 3 brand new PCs, a 2, a 4 and a 6 user PC from VeryPC for SoftXpand, so now we can buy branded hardware with a warranty! The MPS 2010 on VeryPC is best for 4 users if video editing or graphics applications are being used, the other 2 users will only be able to do basic office application stuff.

    SoftXpand and DisplayLink:

    We've trialled numerous devices and got some working. On a mid spec PC SoftXpand allows 4 users to connect using DisplayLink devices. They must be DisplayLink. What we found was that if your PC has a dual graphics card or even 2 graphics cards then SoftXpand will allow 2 users a true PC performance using stuff like autocad, and the other 4 users can do file, print, movies, internet etc. Actually rather nifty as it lets you mix and match. We haven't got this working with MPS 2010. SoftXpand on DisplayLink gives the same performance as MPS 2010 on HPs Multiseat Computer, and the same as NComputing / LG. Samsung, LG and Kensington are all involved with SoftXpand and are working to release devices.

    Additionally we've found that SoftXpand now logs USB ports to the users so noone else can see your students work when they stick a USB memory stick in, and IP addresses are native. That is a pretty big deal. We cannot map USB ports with MPS 2010 although I'm sure it won't be long until this is solved.

    NComputing and the Hybrid VDi:

    This is so cool. Their vSpace will allow 200 users on the server. Connect the users using the LG N+ or NComputing L series via ethernet. Bosh. Cheapest high user volume solution. We saw the VeryPC (they're everywhere in Multiseating) GreenHive hosts being used as a router that delivered processing power in the ICT suites to the NComputing access devices, and the server was pretty neat too.

    In conclusion:

    No mater what you buy you will need MPS2010 and I thoroughly believe it will improve with every update. I love these solutions but they're really like saying what do you prefer blondes or brunettes. I think each one has its place. SoftXpand has the biggest install in the UK still, NComputing has the most seats, but rest assured MPS 2010 is going to be the biggest. It could even lead to a drop in market share of NComputings thin client devices.

    So for true PC performance and a decent price trade off choose SoftXpand; however when will they release a Win 7 / 64 BIT version?
    For an easy life and an acceptable performance use MPS2010 with a multigraphics card PC. The solution can only get better and works out of the box.
    For acceptable performance and low cost use NComputing and ask NComputing to recommend a host PC appliance to you.
    For a full branded solution choose MPS2010 with HP multiseat computer.
    For an all in one solution use LG and ask LG to recommend a host PC appliance to you.

  18. Thanks to multipoint from:

    tmcd35 (10th June 2010)

  19. #180
    DMcCoy's Avatar
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    Not that the machines will necessarily cope but most of us won't be bound to the 10 user limit of MPS as academic users have no limit (assuming you have the CALs).

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