The NComputing 550X PCI card and software allows educators to attach five keyboards, mice, and monitors to one computer. With a second X550 kit, a total of eleven users can all share a single PC. Each X550 kit includes five NComputing XD2 access devices, a PCI plug-in card, and the vSpace virtualization software. Unlike other desktop virtualization solutions, the X550 delivers rich multimedia and full-screen video.
Pros: The image quality is better than on earlier NComputing cards. All of the image process is done on the NComputing card, where before much of the image the host CPU did processing. This allows for lower CPU usage.
Cons: The cost per seat is slightly higher than earlier versions. Some preferences in some software might have to be adjusted so it runs with NComputing.
Overall Impression: Any time you can reduce the TCO, you are also going to increase the ROI. The nComputing 550X lets schools reuse older equipment—and run greener operations.
Retail price: $449
-- Joe Huber
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