Boston Roamer 1100-7EP review

£7194
Price when reviewed

Power users can be quite a problem for many businesses as they need access to performance-based systems, but most offices are poorly suited to their demands. These systems have high power consumption, heat output and noise levels, and would be better off in a dedicated server room where they won’t be a nuisance.

The Roamer 1100-7EP is one of a range of new remote workstations and servers from Boston offering just that. They’re designed to be accessed from anywhere over the LAN or WAN, and all a user requires is a small desktop portal unit, allowing the heavy metal to be placed in a secure room.

The technology behind this is Teradici’s PC-over-IP (PCoIP). In a nutshell, the PCoIP protocol compresses, encrypts and transmits pixels over UDP. Rendering is carried out in hardware by a dedicated PCoIP card, which is transparent to the host OS. Unlike thin clients, the desktop portal is stateless, and its only job is to decode and display the video feed and return USB traffic to the host.

Boston Roamer 1100-7EP

The Roamer itself is aimed at graphics-intensive tasks and sports a PNY Quadro 4000 graphics card with 2GB of GDDR5 graphics memory. The PCoIP host card has a Teradici Tera1202 processor and Gigabit port, and is connected directly to the graphics card via an external DVI cable.

It has its own web interface, which provides a quick-setup wizard that runs through assigning an IP address and securing client access. You can allow any portal unit to connect to it or specify selected units using their MAC address.

The portal unit has a pair of DVI monitor ports, audio-out sockets, a Gigabit port and four USB ports. It also has its own web interface and, with its host discovery option enabled, it will automatically locate host cards.

During testing, we had no problems with it discovering the server’s host card. The portal provides a local interface with access to the same settings as its web interface and, once connected, we found the experience was as good as sitting in front of the server itself.

To test network bandwidth usage, we used Riverbed’s Cascade Pilot monitoring software. Watching the IP conversation between the host card and portal, we fired up one of Nvidia’s PureVideo 1080p demo clips.

Warranty

Warranty 3yr on-site next business day

Ratings

Physical

Server format Rack
Server configuration 1U

Processor

CPU family Intel Xeon
CPU nominal frequency 2.66GHz
Processors supplied 2
CPU socket count 2

Memory

Memory type DDR3

Storage

Hard disk configuration 2 x Seagate Barracuda 1TB SATA hard disks
Total hard disk capacity 2,000GB

Power supply

Power supply rating 1,400W

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 228W
Peak power consumption 430W

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