Make Your Own Display Express PC

Surface 3

Display Express software requires a Windows 7 or 10 Pro PC to run the application. Sometimes this is implemented on a client’s PC, other times the integrator needs to provide a computer. As a service, we offer a rack-mount PC, pre-installed with Display Express, and supplied with a fan speed controller, USB to RS-232 interface, mouse and keyboard. However, Windows 7 – 10 Pro makes it easy for integrators to purchase and set up a DX PC on their own. Win7  or 10 Pro are the best – and Win 10 Home supports DX as well.

DX can also be installed on XP Pro, but we don’t recommend XP as the OS isn’t supported and the PC is likely very old.

Rack Mount PCs

There are a number of providers that offer inexpensive rack-mount PCs for this application. One source is www.abmx.com, with several 1-rack servers with a basic HDD (about $650 with WIn 7 Pro installed), or equip with an SSD (about $860).

Server 2003 and beyond

Note that Display Express can be installed into Server 2003 by the client’s IT department, adding no PC cost and full IT support and backup. The unit would communicate with the iCE-HE Head End over Ethernet.

All-In-One PCs and Laptops

Where rack-mounting isn’t critical, another good choice is an all-in-one PC, providing processor, flat-panel screen, mouse and keyboard in one unit. HP and Dell have units, you will usually need to update to WIn 8 Pro yourself. The Microsoft Surface works fine, and laptops are all-in-one units as well.

Mini PCs

kangaroo-device

Another option is a compact, Atom-based PC, which works fine as a Web server. One example is the ASUS EeePC Desktop PC (new units that support Pro are: EB1007P, EB1033, and EB1036). It’s very small, has Ethernet and WiFi, several USB ports, and VGA and HDMI monitor ports.

I do have DX running on a Kangaroo PC  (above) – a great little mini PC  that has a USB 2.0 and 3.0 port, and HDMI – and Windows 10 Home installed – all for about $100! And yes, DX can run on Windows 10 Home. Add a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, as well as a USB to RS-232 adapter and null modem cable to hook up to the ICE-HE. You can use the USB 3.0 port for an RJ45 network cable if needed – it has WiFi as well. The software runs fine on the 32G memory, but you can add micro USB memory as well. The upcoming $129 ASUS VivoStick PC, driven by a Cherry Trail chipset looks interesting as well.

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