HP Compaq t5630 Thin Client review

A low-cost Windows XP-based client offering a low outlay and equally low running costs

Dave Mitchell
9 Sep 2009
5
Price when reviewed 
352
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HP's latest family of thin clients deliver a wide range of features, including beefed up local security and improved management, for businesses that are more comfortable with a Windows style desktop than Linux.

The t5630 comes preinstalled with Windows XP Embedded SP2 but HP also includes Symantec's Endpoint Protection agent software. Specifically for XP Embedded, it checks all network communications and protects against worms, trojans, viruses and so on, by blocking anything suspicious.

The XP Embedded interface is cut down to keep overheads to a minimum, so you get IE7 for basic web browsing plus a quick link for setting up RDP connections to Windows terminal servers. A Citrix Program Neighbourhood utility configures connections to Citrix ICA servers, while HP's TeemTalk handles terminal emulation sessions.

The t5630 is speedy for a thin client, with a decent 1GHz VIA processor, 1GB of flash memory and 1GB of DDR2. The processor and chipset don't need fans because they're covered by a chunky, passive heatsink, which makes the t5630 completely silent.

The chassis' piano black finish looks great when it comes out of the box but the surfaces are easily marked. It has six external USB ports, plus a couple more hidden underneath the removable top cover. This is held down with a single screw but you can add an optional lock.

Your port choices don't end there: the rear panel offers serial, parallel, PS/2, VGA and DVI, plus a 10/100 port for the network connection. The embedded VIA Chrome9 HC3 controller and 64MB of video memory support resolutions up to 1,920 x 1,200, a 32-bit colour depth and dual monitors.

One the biggest differentiators between thin client solutions are the remote management packages provided by the vendor, and HP doesn't disappoint. The t5630 comes with a Device Manager that focuses on connection and security management, plus thin client imaging. It provides useful features such as patch management and remote control, power access and shadowing.

We also loaded up the bundled Altiris Deployment Solution (ADS), which allows you to manage all thin clients running the Altiris agent. Installation of the ADS server components didn't take long and from the tidy console we saw that the review unit had already been added to the device explorer tree.

Devices can be organised into groups, and jobs are run by dragging the appropriate job from the pane and dropping it on the client or group icon. ADS also provides full remote control and access to power settings, plus options for quick disk imaging and remote task execution.

The t5630 offers fully centralised management of systems and user access, it's completely silent and, with our power meter showing it drawing a mere 14W, offers incredibly low running costs.

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