Very PC's GreenHive is a unique concept aimed at businesses and schools, based around a single ‘Queen’ PC with up to seven ‘Worker’ terminals.
With environmental issues in mind, not to mention reducing the costs of equipment acquisition and attendant power consumption, VeryPC has a novel solution. It has a concept it calls GreenHive, based around a single ‘Queen’ PC and up to seven ‘Worker’ terminals. The Queen station uses virtualisation software to feed the subsidary terminals, utilising the untapped power of a modern desktop PC.
The GreenHive‘s primary PC provides all the processing power to these slave terminals, each of which comprises nothing more than a keyboard, screen and a mouse, along with a small hub to connect the components together.
Each of the GreenHive’s Worker terminals is connected to the main host PC through Cat 6 ethernet cable, and it’s also over this ethernet link that the Workers’ hubs take electrical power. A maximum cable length of 10m can be accomodated for each terminal.
With the Queen sitting at the centre of the other GreenHive’s terminals, it acts as a gateway to a normal network to give the other terminals internet access, for example. You would also connect a printer to the primary machine to give print capabilities to all other users.
A key part of the GreenHive system is the low energy consumption of the only active PC in the system, built around a SilverStone SG01 case, which uses a 2.3GHz AMD dual-core processor fitted with 4GB of RAM.
This GreenHive system is designed for installations such as call centres, small businesses and schools, and while one central PC can provide a seat for up to six additional users, several systems can be used together. VeryPC provides the example of a 560 seat call centre, which would replace 560 desktop PCs with 80 Hive base stations linked to 560 monitor/keyboard/mice terminals. By the time costs of reduced power consumption of both PCs and supporting infrastructure, such as network switches, are calculated, an annual saving of 88MWHr (megawatt hour) is advertised, equalling £8800 per year.
Other savings can be made if you factor in initial purchase price, manufacturing carbon footprint, reduced air conditioning costs and disposal of waste at the systems’ end of life.
We found the GreenHive system easy to set up in a four-seat configuration, using the supplied X300 hubs made by NComputing, who also supply the NCX 2000 terminal services software to run the system.
Maximum screen resolution on each terminal is limited to 1024x768, and here we found an issue, because the supplied 19in LG monitors had a native 1280x1024 resolution. This resulted in blurry, defocused text in some applications, and screen refresh is also a little slow.
Specifying the GreenHive’s Worker terminals with XGA (1024x768) screens would give greater legibility, although these are becoming increasingly hard to source now. Overall the GreenHive is a clever solution for a small business needing to equip a number of users with a PC terminal for light office work.