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Teaching without the PC

TC191_sideThe digital classroom requires a computer and monitor, right? Not anymore with a bunch of new thin or zero clients. The latest from Samsung and ViewSonic are so simple, powerful and secure that you might not miss having a PC around.

Samsung’s newest thin- and zero-clients are built right in the company’s displays, the TC191W, TC241W, NC191 and NC241, which rely on VDI and desktop virtualization technology to make them more than just screens. Both systems are available with traditional 4:3 aspect ratio 19- and wide-screen 24-inch LCD displays.

The TC series is a thin client built around a 1GHz AMD Ontario processor, 2GB of RAM and Radeon HD6290 graphics. It uses the familiar Windows interface so it’ll be easy to figure out and the system can be run as a Citrix or VMware system or to log onto the school’s network via the built-in Web browser. The more minimalist NC series is a zero-client display that uses a Teradici Tera 2321 processor and relies on PC-over-IP technology that grabs everything that’s needed from a server.

A big bonus is that either can client display save lots of money on acquisition, maintenance and electricity because they use only about 30 watts of power. Pricing starts at $477 

Sc-t45_right_hiresBy contrast, ViewSonic’s lineup of thin and zero clients place the emphasis on value by not including a screen. This is usually the least expensive part of the equation and most schools have several monitors sitting around just waiting to be reused. With pricing that starts at a hard to beat $200, these devices have the ability to fit into any school’s infrastructure.

The SC-T35 thin client use TI’s ARM-based DM8148 processor and Linux software to work with Citrix ICA/HDX, VMware and MS RemoteFX protocols in a school setting. The SC-T45 setup is based on an Atom N2800 processor for a Windows interface that everyone will be familiar with. Both have Ethernet and WiFi networking built-in and can drive an HD monitor while using less than 36 watts.

If a minimalist client infrastructure is in the future of your school, ViewSonic’s SC-Z55 could help out with a zero client that provides accelerated VMware PCoIP operations. Inside is the Teradici Tera 2321 processor and the system gets all its software from a server.

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