Jump to content
Skrumpy

Thin Client Guidance

8 posts in this topic Last Reply

Recommended Posts

Hey gang,

 

Scenario: The GF has an old laptop (Core 2 duo) and would like to upgrade. As expected, she claims it is running much to slowly to even surf the web and use Word/Excel, etc (what she primarily uses it for). Rather than spend money on a new laptop, I figure it will be cheaper to have her use that laptop as a thin client streaming a Win 10 environment from my Unraid server (i7-2600k).

 

Primary Questions:

[*]How would I setup Unraid to do this (if this is even worthwhile)? Any links or other recommended resources would be greatly appreciated!

[*]How would I start setting up her laptop to do this (i.e. what software is recommended)? She has 0 technical experience and the access solution would need to be simple for her.

Secondary Questions

  • What would her experience be like? I'm assuming a massive performance increase given the difference in processing power/RAM/etc.
  • What kind of impact would there be on my server? (Don't run much off of it ATM, occasionally minor Emby transcoding and she doesn't do anything crazy on her laptop)
  • Any limitations to this setup aside from needing a relatively fast data connection (she uses it from home 99% of the time and we have gigabit wireless)?

 

Any and all help is more than welcome, as well as anyone who wants to share their own experiences doing something similar.

 

Thanks gents!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

Put a SSD in the laptop and max out the ram.

 

Will give the laptop a second life.

 

No experience with thin clients, sorry...

 

Share this post


Link to post

Put a SSD in the laptop and max out the ram.

 

Will give the laptop a second life.

 

No experience with thin clients, sorry...

 

Hey thanks for the response. I thought about upgrading it, which would be a very simple solution.. but where's the fun in that?  :P

 

In looking at benchmarks comparing the 2 CPUs, my Unraid server is multitudes faster (Passmark saying ~8x processing power but I know it's not a straight comparison) so I could technically get away with putting $0 into the laptop and having it simply use the processing power/RAM of my server for a much better experience. Then... I can take that money I saved and put it into a new desktop for myself  ;D

Share this post


Link to post

Presumably, you would have a VM on the server and have a fast and/or trimmed down OS on the laptop and then remote access into unRAID VM. That should be quite easy e.g. using Windows RDP.

 

Windows RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) should be built-in so there's no need for any additional software if client and VM are both on Windows.

If your client and/or server is Linux e.g. Ubuntu then perhaps ask on the Ubuntu support forum for RDP and they should direct you to the right place.

 

In term of experience, I would say it appears seamless. Other than a connection bar on the top edge, I would have no idea that what I'm seeing on the screen is from the server. Of course a good connection is absolutely vital.

 

Server impact is basically whatever your VM uses. I would recommend thinking very carefully about VM resource allocation e.g. how many cores, memory etc. If something else (e.g. dockers) happens to use the same core the VM is using, you might run into a bit of lag. To be honest, for basic stuff, it would require a lot to cause significant usability issues. For example, I need to run hand-brake (using 3.5 cores) for my VM (sharing 2 cores) to become somewhat hard to use when browsing.

If your VM is idle then there is virtually no impact to the rest of unRAID (e.g. dockers), other than losing the RAM that you reserve for the VM.

 

The only thing that can be tricky is to redirect local devices onto the VM. Not sure about other platforms but Windows RDP allows some limited redirection but I have never tried to do anything fancy e.g. webcam, local discs etc.

 

 

PS: I have been using RDP to control my VMs from my workstation and my Android tablets. I believe you can even do it on a Chrome Book - and it doesn't get thinner than a Chrome Book.

Share this post


Link to post

One thing about rdp/vnc is that video playback is usually choppy so consider that if you want to use YouTube etc

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post

One thing about rdp/vnc is that video playback is usually choppy so consider that if you want to use YouTube etc

I just tested my VM. Smooth like panna cotta.

Even with HandBrake docker running at full speed, the VM Youtube video still runs ok.

Share this post


Link to post

My experience has been that RDP is a great way to remote control a server, and not so great a way to host web browsing and basic office functions.  Decent, but not great.  Screen sharing has come a long way but can still be laggy compared to the snappy response you'd expect from a local client.  I've seen the same thing in corporate environments where the adoption of HVDs is slower than expected due to the laggy behavior inherent in video sharing across the network.

 

Server based environments specialize in lots of CPU and RAM.  Desktop environments only benefit from those in some situations - most of the time they just need enough RAM, a decent graphics adapter, and fast temporary storage (SSD).

 

As always, YMMV so it's worth a try.

Share this post


Link to post

Presumably, you would have a VM on the server and have a fast and/or trimmed down OS on the laptop and then remote access into unRAID VM. That should be quite easy e.g. using Windows RDP.

 

Windows RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) should be built-in so there's no need for any additional software if client and VM are both on Windows.

If your client and/or server is Linux e.g. Ubuntu then perhaps ask on the Ubuntu support forum for RDP and they should direct you to the right place.

 

In term of experience, I would say it appears seamless. Other than a connection bar on the top edge, I would have no idea that what I'm seeing on the screen is from the server. Of course a good connection is absolutely vital.

 

Server impact is basically whatever your VM uses. I would recommend thinking very carefully about VM resource allocation e.g. how many cores, memory etc. If something else (e.g. dockers) happens to use the same core the VM is using, you might run into a bit of lag. To be honest, for basic stuff, it would require a lot to cause significant usability issues. For example, I need to run hand-brake (using 3.5 cores) for my VM (sharing 2 cores) to become somewhat hard to use when browsing.

If your VM is idle then there is virtually no impact to the rest of unRAID (e.g. dockers), other than losing the RAM that you reserve for the VM.

 

The only thing that can be tricky is to redirect local devices onto the VM. Not sure about other platforms but Windows RDP allows some limited redirection but I have never tried to do anything fancy e.g. webcam, local discs etc.

 

 

PS: I have been using RDP to control my VMs from my workstation and my Android tablets. I believe you can even do it on a Chrome Book - and it doesn't get thinner than a Chrome Book.

 

Thanks for the info gents. In terms of a "fast/trimmed down OS" for the laptop, are we talking just a very basic Windows client install from like a USB drive or would something else be better? Then it can be setup to automatically login to the windows VM server on Unraid? I'm trying to automate things as much as possible for the not so tech savvy GF.

 

I have gigabit ethernet, but it is wireless. Still I think it would be OK as she mainly just does word/facebook/youtube and I'm assuming that doing this on the Unraid box would be quite a bit faster than the crappy processing power of the laptop.

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.