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The Jack PC is one very thin client

Form factors of computers continue to shrink. The Jack PC packs an entire Windows CE .NET 4.2 thin client into a form factor that can fit into a space the size of an Ethernet wall jack.

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In the world of hardware, I keep an eye on different form factors for client computers. Every successive iteration of client machines has a new way to make everything smaller and lighter, or to cram that much more into an ever-smaller form factor.

I've discovered a computer that packs an entire Windows CE .NET 4.2 thin client into a form factor that can fit into a space the size of an Ethernet wall jack. The Jack PC, created by the Israeli firm Chip PC Technologies, is aimed at two types of thin-client environments:

  • where users connect to a server via Citrix or Remote Desktop Protocol, or

  • where desktop space may be at a premium.

The Jack PC comes with 128 MB of DDR RAM and 64 MB of flash memory and can be either powered via an external wall-wart that plugs into the face of the unit, or it can draw power via Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) IEEE802.3af.

The entire client can fit into a space 8.6 cm square by 4 cm deep. It houses four USB ports, two audio jacks (speakers and microphone), a 5V plug if needed and an analog or DVI/analog (dual-screen) video connector. The unit itself is installed in a mounting box designed to fit into the wall space, and the network cable is wired into that bracket to allow the unit itself to be changed out without having to change any other wiring. You can also surface-mount the unit on the wall if there isn't space enough within the wall to allow it.

The company has offices in most countries (including the U.S., of course) and even offers a trade-in/recycling program to swap older thin-client machines for Jack PC products. An evaluation kit for approved customers includes everything you need to get started.

The entry-level version of the Jack PC, Model EFI6700, starts at $299. The evaluation kit for that model is $549.

The Jack PC is available through distributors such as Ingram Micro and Tech Data and resellers such as Dell and CDW.

About the author:
Serdar Yegulalp is editor of Windows Insight (formerly the Windows Power Users Newsletter), a blog site devoted to hints, tips, tricks and news for users and administrators of Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Vista. He has more than 12 years of experience working with Windows, and contributes regularly to and other TechTarget sites.

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