By: Andreas Ertel, Dell OEM Solutions Consultant
Evolution of Embedded IT Devices
In an “embedded world” everybody talks about lifecycles of 10 or more years for an embedded IT device. This certainly has justification for many embedded controllers and devices that are hidden inside a machine, performing a single or crucial task, 24/7, 365 days a year. However, embedded IT devices have started to look and function more and more like that of a standard PC.
In this world, where the lines of embedded and computing have become blurred, Dell is still perhaps seen as an exotic market player, but has achieved, with its Optiplex XE, a significant role with standard PCs for special fields of applications. With the additional partnership in major alliances such as Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance and Microsoft® Windows Embedded, Dell OEM Solutions offers more than just another “industrial” PC platform.
Dell’s first Industrial PC
At the beginning of 2010, Dell released the first, dedicated industrial PC from a Tier-1 vendor, the Optiplex XE. With its extensive feature set and its 3.5 year long and stable lifecycle, designed for the needs of special environments, the XE filled the gap between a standard PC and undefined realm of industrialcomputing. The Optiplex XE opened many customers’ doors, where normally a typical industrial PC resides, but only an uplifted PC is needed.
The combination of longevity, an image stable platform and the option to use them under extended environmental conditions, hit the nerve in industrial automation, healthcare, kiosk and retail solutions.
After 3.5 years the platform is now reaching its technical end of life and so it is time to release a straight forward successor.
Introducing the new Optiplex XE2
With the new Optiplex XE2 Dell OEM Solutions connects seamless to the concept of image stability, long term availability and the focus on dedicated usage scenarios to integrate IT into end user applications. The Optiplex XE2 is derived from the next generation of the standard Optiplex family. With a new mini tower and an adjusted small form factor chassis and motherboard, the Optiplex XE2 meets all common industry standards.
With the change from the desktop chassis and a riser card to a mini tower with four full height slots, the XE2 becomes more expandable and less complex to add legacy PCI and PCIe add in cards, which are still mandatory in many industries to drive end customers’ machines or devices. If space matters, the Optiplex XE2’s small form factor remains very similar, from a dimension perspective, with selectable, industry specific upgrade options.
The Optiplex XE2 has 3.5 year platform stable lifecycle and is part of Dell OEM’s ‘change management” process, where 3 month advance notice will be given for changes such as BIOS- and firmware updates and components EOL or technology changes (hard drive, memory, etc.).
Furthermore, the Optiplex XE2 is equipped with some special and durable components, such as Intel’s® 4th generation Core-I 65W low power processor technology, ball bearing fans for enhanced cooling and a unique PSU with additional 12V support for add in cards that makes the entire solution ready for usage under continuous operation up to 450C.
A variety of qualified add in cards, such as discrete graphics, additional (voltage adjustable) serial- and USB-ports as well as an integrated Watchdog timer (hardware based system monitoring software) completes the dedicated focus of the Optiplex XE2. With the OEM-Ready option, to rebrand the XE2 and pre-install Microsoft’s Windows for Embedded Systems 7 OS, the XE2 follows the Dell OEM Solution path to support special purpose devices and applications.
With the new Optiplex XE2, Dell OEM Solutions demonstrates its continued contribution and understanding for vertical applications and their special requirements.