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Viewing Stations with NComputing [Archive] - Event Photographer Society Forum


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Russ Hill
30-08-2010, 05:56 PM
I am planning to setup a few viewing stations and considering using NComputing L300 Ethernet Virtual Desktop terminal instead of portable computers. I was going to use Fotoplayer, which generates a flash gallery and shopping cart from Adobe Lightroom, to create my albums. Does anyone have any operating experience with NComputing hardware?

Michael Martin
30-08-2010, 06:26 PM
Been using them for a few years now. No problems at all.

Jeremy Nako
30-08-2010, 09:12 PM
I've been using 2 X550 cards for a year, and think they're great.

I also have 1x230 and 1x300 cards which I'm integrating into my setup.

Alan Warner
30-08-2010, 10:18 PM
N computing Great Products very impressive,

Got very close to using these with ED Darkroom to provide additional viewing stations or with some kinda hybrid solution using a 3rd party viewing software,


the risk breaking the ED EULA was not an option for me & so I just added a couple of additional ED Cores & a couple more cheap S/H Dell sx260's,

link to ED EULA just for reference

http://www.expressdigital.com/eula/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


Russ Hill
31-08-2010, 03:00 AM
Sounds like they are the way to go. Thanks everyone very much. The idea of placing laptop computers out there for viewing stations was not appealing. I am sure there is less interest in stealing a lcd monitor and no way for little fingers to bugger things up.

Russ Hill
31-08-2010, 03:25 AM
How many viewing terminals are being used?
Does anyone have any idea how much load it places on the host computer cpu?
Does the viewing terminal slow down when several stations are operating?

Jeremy Nako
31-08-2010, 07:13 AM
I dont use the cards with ED - I use them with viewing station software.

I have 2 cards (10 stations) in one host Acer PC. I'm away til Friday so cant tell you the spec, but it I purchased it a year ago for 350, so it's not exactly top of the range.

It runs the viewing system blisteringly quick, and for a while I also ran 2 laptop sales stations (running ED) connected to the same machine with no noticeable degradation of speed.

I've recently expanded the system so I added an HP Server running Server 2008 to host the images.

Graham Taylor
31-08-2010, 07:35 AM
Antony has just started using the usb version of these and speak highly of them. I understand hes using ED tho' but I also would be interested to hear of any other third party gallery software used. I'm also not happy about those messing little fingers being able to muck thing up! :evil:

Jeremy Nako
31-08-2010, 09:36 AM
The very small nComputing boxes have standard fittings so they'll screw into the back of any standard monitor.

So, each viewing station consists of a 19" monitor with box screwed to the back. into the box is plugged the Cat6 cable from the host PC and a mouse, but no keyboard.

I run Photo Parata, but there are a few good viewing systems out there. It depends on what you want to pay and the functionality that you need.

Graham Taylor
31-08-2010, 10:08 AM
I downloaded Photo Parata but didnt get chance to look at it it before it expired.

Jeremy Nako
31-08-2010, 10:15 AM
If you email the guy (Sam Carlton) then he'll send you a new code to extend the demo period.

Russ Hill
31-08-2010, 11:47 AM
I have looked at Photo Parata. It looks very simple to use. The only reservation I have is the missing shopping cart payment options and the price. I want to be able to take payment immediately through Paypal etc. The software I am looking at, Fotoplayer, which is the same software I am running on my website gallery's costs much less, $89US for the pro version. Fotoplayer is a plugin for Lightroom's web gallery and also works with Jalbum. It is a lot more complicated to implement but with the complexity comes more opportunity for customizing. Once setup I think it will be easy for an assistant to upload the flash galleries from Lightroom to the host computer. I am still playing with the workflow but it looks good so far.

Jeremy Nako
31-08-2010, 11:57 AM
I guess it all comes down to what you want it to do.

For me, Parata works because it's got the simplest user screen. There are no payment options which suits me fine as I want people to pay at the sales desk.

It also handles the creation of the pages during the card reading process, so there's no upload etc.. You put the card into the card reader and 30 seconds later the galleries are updated.

There are some very function rich programs out there that do a lot more.

31-08-2010, 01:16 PM
Spoke to the MD at klltd.co.uk who supply n computing terminals in the uk ..They are willing to give a demo at the next eps meet and offer EPS members a discount .
is this something anyone would be interested in?

31-08-2010, 01:39 PM
Would love to try and understand the difference between the N computing box, and the Thinterms that Mike uses or the Compaq one's I have.
The thin terms run across ethernet, have USB ports and VGA port

I have had a look on the website and can't find a lot of info, so hopefully, somebody can explain it to me

Jeremy Nako
31-08-2010, 02:03 PM
There are exceptions to everything, but basically...

The Thinterms are real computers.. like any other PC except that they usually lack hard drives. Built into the motherboard is a chip with a specific (but cut down) version of Windows.

So when you boot up, you have a ready made PC but with limited functionality (that often doesn't matter).

The nComputing (there are also other company's that offer similar product I believe) solution is software based.

On the host (server) PC you install and run the nComputing program.

This 'copies' your host computer into memory, called a Virtual Desktop.. it then controls this as if it was the host PC.

There are a couple of different options now, but basically you connect a small break-out box using standard cat6 cable to a router. Into the break out box you also plug a monitor, mouse and keyboard (if you need to). That's your remote station, or the equivalent of the Thin Client you currently use.

On that monitor you will see an exact copy of what is on the host computer. You have (pretty much) all the functionality of the host computer, you can run all the same programs etc.

The benefits of this are :

The boxes are tiny and light. Depending on the model, some don't even need a power supply.

You are running the same operating system as the host. Upgrade the host and all the stations are updated.

Install a new program on the host, and it's available immediately to all the stations (licensing issues aside).

Upgrade the spec of the host machine, and all stations have an equal(ish) increase in performance.

You can control all the stations from the host. A reboot takes less 30 seconds.

The downside is that all your stations are dependent upon one piece of software running on the host.

This is meant as an educational posting not a sales posting (I have no affiliation or anything to do with nComputing etc), so others please feel free to post issues/problems etc.

john wright
31-08-2010, 02:27 PM
The other option which I use myself is net-books connected to an external monitor and mouse. The net-book can be set to operate with the screen lid closed, it has built in battery support (so far less susceptible to mains fluctuations etc.)

A good specification net-book can be picked up for less than 200 including operating system.

http://www.dabs.com/category/computing, ... ooks/11275 (http://www.dabs.com/category/computing,laptops-and-netbooks,netbooks/11275)

Just another option.

Great for travelling with as well :D


Jeremy Nako
31-08-2010, 02:46 PM
On the subject of pricing...

An X550 card costs 320. The X series is an expansion card that works in the same way as I've explained above, but involves a card being fitted into the host PC and gives you 5 remote boxes each of which is connected directly to the card in the host computer. There's also a 3 station version at 220.

The L series boxes are individual 'terminals'. They are connected to a router rather than the host PC and these cost from 99 each upwards.

Graham Taylor
31-08-2010, 03:16 PM
Jeremy, Can these be connected via a switch instead of a router? if so any benifits for either?

Mark Eaton
31-08-2010, 03:55 PM
I've been looking at the NComputing products to expand my present setup. I was looking at the USB connected units to give me the option of using with either PC or laptop are there any disadvantages to USB over ethernet , e.g. speed differences, or is the USB connection fast enough to do what we eventers are looking to do with the units.

richard ham
01-09-2010, 09:12 AM
I am just about to buy two X550's (11 clients in all)to replace my thin client units.

The Ncomputing website has some video tutorials on these http://www.ncomputing.com/product-xseries and they also have a forum for help and tips etc http://www.ncomputing.com/forum
(I have no connection or association with these either)

The U170 units are usb terminals which sound a lot simpler to run and power is supplied Via the USB. My concern is that running 6 of these, the USB's can't provide that amount of power.
I'm also buying a new micro Pc (quad core) in the hope that it will help with speed.

Alan Warner
01-09-2010, 11:07 AM
Hi Richard,

Out of interest,

What software are you going to use to display the images on the viewing stations,

and what is your intended workflow from there on.


richard ham
01-09-2010, 03:55 PM
Hi Richard,

Out of interest,

What software are you going to use to display the images on the viewing stations,

and what is your intended workflow from there on.


I use a product I bought from Mark Jones some time back. It's almost identical to Mikes software, but I don't need wamp server installed, it's built in.

Mike Weeks
01-09-2010, 04:16 PM
I use a product I bought from Mark Jones some time back. It's almost identical to Mikes software, but I don't need wamp server installed, it's built in.

Actually many things that his software cant do such as multi level albums which is why I wrote my own. Another thing that his software suffers from is that it slows down as you build large albums, mine is somewhat faster but not nearly as fast as I would like.


richard ham
01-09-2010, 08:00 PM
As I stated in a previous post some time back, had I come across Mikes software before parting with 100, I would now be 100 better off!

Mark Jones no longer sells or supports this software anyway.

richard ham
01-09-2010, 08:13 PM
I e-mailed Ncomputing and asked advice for the type of Pc recommended for running their products.
They recommend a dual or quad core with 3 gig of RAM when using more than 3/4 units on the X-series.

They also provided a link to their data sheet.

02-09-2010, 01:56 PM
Spoke to the MD at klltd.co.uk who supply n computing terminals in the uk ..They are willing to give a demo at the next eps meet and offer EPS members a discount .
is this something anyone would be interested in?
No one interested then

brin edwards
02-09-2010, 02:08 PM
I'd certainly be interested in having a peek


Scott Kirk-Matthewson
03-09-2010, 08:23 PM
+1 for me, depending where & when, spoke at length with someone on here who uses them, he seems impressed

Frederic de Laminne
26-06-2011, 09:18 AM
I'm currently trying to get things sorted out for an event next week where I will use Event View and do onsite sales.

So I'm looking into view station stuff.
Ncomputing system was looking interesting until I read the licencing information.
So if I'm getting it correctly the price for an NComputing solution is :
Server PC : 400
X550 : 300
Windows Server for 5 users : 500
+ screens, keyboards, ... and other low value items.

With stand alone viewstations :
Server PC + OS : 520
5 refurbished PC as view stations : 300
+ screens, keyboards, ... and other low value items.

To me the standalone VS solution is way cheaper, am I missing something ?
I can see an advantage for Ncomputing in power usage and size/weight.

Thank you for your insights.