Vigor EX: Rugged solution for high-performance field computing
By Paul Ridden
March 21, 2011
There are occasions when mobile computing needs in the field simply can't be met by notebook or tablet solutions. The kind of high performance processing needed for applications like geospatial imagery analysis, UAV ground control, or HD digital video processing is often given over to rack-mounted servers, but NextComputing has another option. Sporting the latest off-the-shelf components within a rugged dual-design chassis, the Vigor EX compact, mobile, all-in-one workstation solutions are built to withstand more than the odd bump and designed to operate in harsh environments.
With a starting weight of 35 pounds (15.8kg), the Vigor EX all-in-one computers are not exactly lightweight rugged solutions but they are a good deal less bulky and cumbersome than having to lug around rack-mounted servers. Each 7.69 x 15.94 x 18.8-inch (19.5 x 40.4 x 47.7 cm) system is contained within a shock-mounted internal chassis, which is itself suspended within a rugged, mil-anodized external case with no metal-to-metal contacts.
There's space for up to eight removable or 15 fixed hard drives, offering over 7 TB of internal storage with over 1.2 gigabytes-per-second sustained RAID write performance (when using 12 600GB, 10,000RPM SAS 2.5-inch hard drives in a RAID 0 configuration). An integrated 17-inch, 1920 x 1200 resolution display is featured, with the option of one or two fold-out screens and a capacitive touchscreen option is also available. Users can throw in multiple high-end graphics cards from third party manufacturers like AMD and NVIDIA and up to seven full-length, full height PCI Express and PCI expansion slots feature.
The S5500 flavor benefits from single or dual Intel Xeon processor options, up to 48GB ECC DDR3 RAM and onboard Matrox G200eW graphics. Connectivity includes a VGA port, two USB 2.0 ports and PS/2 keyboard/mouse ports.
The single processor options available with the AX58C version include a six-core Core i7 Extreme Edition 980X running at 3.33 GHz and quad-core Intel Xeon L5630 running at 2.13 GHz, all supported by up to 24 GB non-ECC DDR3 memory. Seven USB 2.0, two eSATA, S/PDIF optical and coaxial audio out and six analog audio ports are amongst this unit's connectivity options.
A removable back panel allows users to take care of drive upgrades or configuration changes, there's an internal DVD optical rewriter and a pair of Gigabit LAN ports. The Vigor EX supports Windows 7, Vista, XP Professional, 2008 Server - with dual boot options available - and optional extras include a secure wireless keyboard with integrated trackball, and an external battery pack. If the system isn't tough enough already, it can be squeezed into a MIL-STD-2073-standard hard case for transport.
NextComputing's Vigor EX has an operating temperature range of between 0 degrees C and 40 degrees C (32° F–104° F) and non-operating of between -40 degrees C and 65 degrees C (-40° F–149° F), and is available now. However, anyone interested in this durable monster will need to contact the company direct for pricing.