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Thread: 32 bit thin clients - was there such a thing?

  1. #1
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    Default 32 bit thin clients - was there such a thing?

    I used to have a Compaq pizza box/skinny computer that I affectionately referred to as my thin client. I have no recollection of whether it was referred to as such or not. It had a P3 of some sort. An ide channel stopped working so I junked it. But eBay has a lot of these really small bona fide thin clients, running anything from Windows 7 embedded to Android. Were there any 32 bit Intel based thin clients? Nothing has turned up yet.

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    There were some thin clients based on the Pentium M and I think that some earlier Intel CPUs were used for the role though the Via SoC was much more common.

    http://www.abacuspos.com/Radiant_1520.html might be an example.

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    Of course there were. Not from Compaq, but IGEL for example made such things. Hard to find these days, as those were normally trashed after usage.

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    Sure; I have a 32-bit Intel based thin client right here, an HDS ViewStation X terminal. See https://zanchey.ucc.asn.au/pub/HDS-manual/1-1.ps.pdf for specifications. Oh, but you probably meant IA32; the HDS has a 32-bit Intel i960 processor (you just said 32-bit Intel, after all!).

    IA32? Sure, Wyse made a number of WindowsCE-powered thin clients such as the WT3125SE. The WT3125SE is powered by a National Semiconductor Geode GX1, descended from the Cyrix GX1 core and is IA32. Not an Intel-branded chip, but a 32-bit x86 nonetheless.

    And then there was the ClearCube system, with Celeron/Pentium III 'blades' and remote displays.
    --
    Thus spake Tandy Xenix System III version 3.2: "Bughlt: Sckmud Shut her down Scotty, she's sucking mud again!"

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    How are we defining “thin client” here, is there a specific size cutoff or... ? If it simply means “diskless workstation for accessing server hosted desktop environments” there were tons of IA32-based models. I have a couple (and eBay is full of them) Via C3-based tiny pizza boxes that just have a Mini-ITX motherboard and pico power supply (uses an external 12v brick) inside; in production environments they would typically either be completely diskless (booting over the network with PXE) or have a tiny DOM or compactflash card installed in one of the IDE ports. The VIA C3, as I said, was super common for this, but there were also Pentium M, Celeron, Atom, Geode... you name it, models.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  6. #6

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    Back when I worked, we tried out a number of thin clients around the years 2005-2010 or so. Mostly Compaqs, but we did trial Wyse and a few others. The first Compaq was the T20, followed by the T30. They ran some kind of embedded unix and were not very good. They didn't even have a bios battery fitted (even though the holder was there). After that we tried the T5000 series, then various T57x0 models. The later ones ran XP embedded.

    But given the date range, you can be sure that there were no 64-bit models in there.

    As for entering the settings on the things, the T20/T30 had to be done manually for each one. After that we started using a USB floppy, and after that a USB stick. Lastly we got ourselves an Altiris server, and this could flash the units automatically when they were first plugged in, straight out of the box. Also, if they corrupted themselves, the user could press F8 at start and request a reflash themselves. All very convenient in the end.

    Just before I left, we started rolling out larger Windows 7-based clients, which could also be used standalone unlocked for the privileged user (I.T. dept).
    Last edited by Robbbert; November 12th, 2020 at 04:01 PM.

  7. #7
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    If you can recommend specific models it would be appreciated. Intel or AMD based. Some sort of onboard storage, vga output. Fwiw I need to run linux.

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