Always in the vanguard of the rear divisions here at Patel Towers it has taken us some time to discover NComputers.
This Redwood City CA startup has developed a low cost, low energy way to make one desktop PC run up to seven workstations -- each with its own keyboard, monitor and mouse -- by sharing a single microprocessor.
The Xtenda card being sold by NComputing turns a desktop PC into the equivalent of a mainframe computer -- then lets seven people at seven desks use one PC as if everyone had their own processors.
The analogy with mainframes clicks a history button because what they are doing is what used in the day of leviathan mainframes called "timeslicing". (Good intro to subject here) Each cycle of the main processor is shared amongst tasks and as a typical load rarely exceeds 5% , with 7 users the load rarely exceeds 75% all that on a US$500 computer. As founder Stephen Dukker, the former CEO of eMachines says - "Forget the $100 laptop."
The technology starts with a circuit card that plugs into the host PC. Control software is loaded onto the host.
The plug-in card has jacks for three cords that go to three black boxes. Each box has plugs for a mouse, keyboard and monitor. An Xtenda three-pack costs $210, or $70 for each additional workstation (keyboards and monitors must be purchased separately).
Dukker said two Xtenda cards can be plugged into a single desktop PC, enabling one microprocessor to let up to seven people work simultaneously using one suite of licensed Windows software - ideal for education and small office / academic sites.
The PC-sharing technology was developed by Klaus Maier, a German engineer and entrepreneur, and expert in multi-user computing.(click to enlarge)
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