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I am thinking of starting a small business of consulting SME's in my city. Mostly targeting people who are looking to equip their offices with computers for the first time. I want to provide thin-client based hardware with open source solutions for their custom needs.

I am good with the software side of things, for hardware I did some research and I plan to build the thin-clients myself. I am thinking of a mini-itx board. The options I see available are a few processors from Via (Nano,C7 etc) and the Intel D945CLF mini-itx. While reading reviews of both online tells me that Via beats Intel by quite a margin but their is a cost diff Via appx $125 and Intel is appx. $70.

Please suggest the kind of hardware I should be looking for, I don't have a problem assembling them myself as it cuts costs.

Thank You

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Isn't the market for "people who are looking to equip their offices with computers for the first time" kinda small these days? –  womble Dec 30 '09 at 9:20
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Depends on which part of the world you are –  sunny Dec 30 '09 at 13:39

2 Answers 2

I certainly wouldn't even contemplate building them myself.

We have around 500 terminals, at 7 office locations, a mix of Wyse and Neoware (now HP) and I don't think you could seriously build something that comes close for the same money.

While it's no immediately apparent how you plan to use them, I'd still be surprised if you'd end up on top, considering labour and other setup costs. Are you going to run straight MS Terminal Server, Citrix, or what?

Most units are about the size of a paperback novel, fanless and generally trouble-free in our experience.

You also get remote management solutions which allow you to deploy them incredibly easily, pushing out common configurations to all machines on the network, and painlessly upgrade, and provide remote support.

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"I want to provide thin-client based hardware with open source solutions" -- I'd be stunned if it wasn't going to be XDMCP or similar. –  womble Dec 30 '09 at 9:33
    
Perhaps, but it's not really clear from the question. At any rate, you can still find a pre-built solution for such purpose. I'm not sure what your point is. –  LukeR Dec 30 '09 at 9:41
    
You asked a question, I provided an answer. –  womble Dec 30 '09 at 10:07
    
"While it's no immediately apparent how you plan to use them, I'd still be surprised if you'd end up on top, considering labour and other setup costs. Are you going to run straight MS Terminal Server, Citrix, or what?" I am mostly gonna go with LTSP. Aren't Wyse and Neoware way more expensive than Via et all? Also my deployment to start with would be mostly 10-12 terminals per location. –  sunny Dec 30 '09 at 13:51
    
For remote management I intend to use puppet. –  sunny Dec 30 '09 at 14:00

We are running business like the business you plan to do in Turkey. We use various things like VIA, Intel D945CLF, Intel D945CLF2, Fanless Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz (attached at the back of the monitor) and sometimes nComputing kind of stuff

All those have different purposes, for instance VIA is much more rock solid than Intel, and its video performance is much better you can even watch full hd when you make right config. Intel is much more like a brand product, we sell it to customers who want a known brand. Some brands in Turkey also uses D945GCLF2 (2 core HT) as a server also. Fanless N270 is better if you dont have space but you shouldn't count on it because as you can see it is fanless and it may slow the client down on high load. nComputing is also a total computing package which lets your client log into a server and all those jobs are done at server but by nComputing just the screens of those remote connections come to screen. nComputing is not a computer, it is a client only that shows you the remote connection screen of windows. The logic to use nComputing is that it uses much less than 5 watt, when D945CLFs uses 20-40 watt per hour.

I personally dont like nComputing but it does not need any maintenance. You just maintain the server runs correct and you can connect up to 30 clients to a server dependent on what you run on server also.

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