With the Jack PC, the computer's in the wall!
By Paul Ridden
November 2, 2010
The Jack PC from Chip PC Technologies offers a neat and novel thin-client desktop computing solution where the computer doesn't just plug into the wall, it is the plug in the wall. Running on power provided by the ethernet cable that also connects it to the data center server, the computer-in-a-wall-socket supports wireless connectivity, has dual display capabilities and runs on the RISC processor architecture – which gives the solution the equivalent of 1.2GHz of x86 processing power.
Jack PC technology enables the conversion of any standard LAN port into a desktop computer solution. The patented modular layered construction is claimed to give the device the world's smallest thin-client core and comes with either a 333MHz (800MHz x86 equivalent) or a 500MHz (1.2GHz x86 equivalent) RMI Au processor. There's also up to 256MB disk-on-chip storage , which may not seem like much, but most of the data storage needs will be taken care of by the data center. Similarly, the onboard memory options run from 64MB to 128MB DDR.
The Jack PC can be installed into walls, floor or users' desks where only the connection plate is showing. This effectively protects the internals from any accidental damage that might be caused by well-meaning self-fixers, as well as deterring would-be thieves from making off with the company's computer assets.
Connectivity comes courtesy of four USB ports for attaching peripherals such as the keyboard and mouse, with support for wireless connectivity possible via an optional USB adapter. Optional PS/2 and serial port connectivity is also available. Either VGA or DVI versions are offered, providing support for up to 1600 x 1200 pixel resolution and dual display setups and backed up by 128-bit 3D graphics acceleration with separate SDRAM display memory of either 4MB or 8MB.
The Jack PC can either run on power-over-ethernet or via a separate power source and offers low power benefits to business (max 5W/0.35W in sleep). With a U.S. mount, it has maximum dimensions of just 2.78 x 4.56 x 1.58-inches (6.96 x 11.4 x 3.95cm), weighs in at 12 ounces (350g) and works with Xcalibur Global Management software that caters for data center management and monitoring of the entire network.
As well as providing end users with desktop computers, the solution can be used for other office functions such as running a printer, terminal emulation and various ICA/RDP/VDI applications.