The goal of this project is spec out a computer that can be used in a manufacturing environment and run Windows 7. The environment dictates sealed and fanless, Windows 7 dictates something other than an Atom processor. Up to this point, two different computers have been used: the Habey BIS-6561 and the Lex Systems Twitter. Both are sealed, both used the Intel Atom. Purchased on Newegg, the Habey systems suffered from extremely poor build quality and a 20% failure rate. The Lex System Twitter was spec’ed as a replacement and had worked well for the last couple years, but to have anything greater than an Atom processor, the price jumps dramatically. Additionally, both systems run Windows XP at level that is acceptable, Windows 7 in not usable.
To be used in a manufacturing environment, this product was purchased to meet some very specific goals. First and foremost the unit cannot have any fans or moving parts. Ideally it should be sealed as well, but for this test, that requirement was removed from the list. Additional requirements are better processor and RAM capabilities.
The Shuttle DS437 has a dual-core Celeron processor and can address up to 16GB RAM. In addition to the bare-bones system, the following items were added:
- The wireless is quite good, despite the lack of an external antenna.
- Windows boot time (to the login prompt) is about 15 seconds.
- Applications are very responsive.
- External jumper for CMOS reset (a unusual feature).
- It ran on the bench using Passmark’s BurnIn Test software for several days without issue, and system temperature although not cool, was not alarmingly warm either.
- Although the system is a bit pricey for a Celeron based computer, the fanless design is specific for digital signage or kiosk applications, and in that market, this system is a bargain.