I am happy to announce the release of our first Mini-ITX Core 2 Duo rackmount system. As a technical sales associate with Logic Supply, I can attest for the incessant demand for a “high-end, power-efficient, reliable, small, low-heat, low-noise, cost-effective, Linux-capable, RAID-capable, Mini-ITX, 1U height, rackmountable system.” Jeez, that was mouthful!
Since the advent of the Mini-ITX form factor (6+ years ago), users have continually asked for more. It wasn’t enough that the manufacturers had managed to standardize on a fully integrated, x86 mainboard that crammed all necessary circuitry into a 17cm x 17cm board and chugged along at 500 MHz clock speeds. No, users wanted a Pentium 4, 2.4GHz CPU with an 800 MHz FSB, socketed to a 7 layer board with 200+ watts pulsing through it with PCI Express, 4x SATA, Gb LAN, DirectX 9 (or better), etc. Anyway, you get the point. Mini-ITX was revolutionizing small form factor (SFF) computing and users realized its capabilities quickly, but wanted, AND EXPECTED, more!
There once was a day when I turned away all inquiries for any Intel-based Mini-ITX system. The boards ran too hot for the compact, miniaturized chassis’ designed for Mini-ITX boards and they sucked more power than the tiny, fanless, DC-converting PSUs could provide (ATX PSUs are typically too large and hot for a SFF chassis). Occasionally, I could convince the user (from novice end-user to a Boeing aircraft engineer) that they may not need all that computing power, but more often than not, the prospect couldn’t sacrifice the performance and moved on, settling for another generic, beige box, ATX power hog.
Well, times have changed! Intel and AMD finally came to their wits and realized if they played the Moore’s Law game any longer they’d be burning people’s houses down with 8GHz, megawatt consuming, fireballs. CPUs have finally become smarter with multiple cores, smaller dies, and more efficient instruction sets. Meanwhile, PSUs have become smaller with more output capabilities. These progressions have opened the doors to higher-end computing in smaller packages. We’ve offered you Intel-based systems now for a few years, and even a few AMD S1 options, by shoe horning these boards into a variety of Mini-ITX enclosures, but the 1U height rackmount was our last frontier. We needed a well-ventilated enclosure with enough juice to power the moderately power-efficient Core 2 Duo mobile boards.
In addition, it only made sense to pursue this system if we could offer up enough space for peripheral expansion to accommodate the variety of applications this machine could cover. More importantly, though, our configuration required a very low-profile, cool running, highly robust board. It needed diverse I/O, RAID and SATA controllers, Gigabit LAN, PCI Express, 3D and HD capable integrated graphics, power management features, temperature monitoring, and ensured dependability with a watchdog timer and wide temperature operation.
Ultimately, we’ve wished to offer you a well rounded, versatile, Intel-based system. We hope we’ve delivered.
Comments, questions, and suggestions are encouraged.