10 Systems and Peripherals The Midmarket Needs Right Now

Toshiba Tecra A11

Toshiba has delivered one of the most powerfully performing dual-core-based notebooks ever brought to market with the Tecra A11, scoring big points in areas including speed, graphics and design. The Toshiba Tecra A11 came to the CRN Test Center lab with an Intel(NSDQ:INTC) Core i7-620M, dual-core processor at 2.66GHz, 4 GB of memory and a 320-GB HDD. It was preloaded with Windows XP Professional 32-bit. Using Primate Labs' Geekbench 2 benchmarking software, the Tecra A11 scored a rating of 4,706 -- making it the highest-performing dual-core CPU system we've ever evaluated in the CRN Test Center lab. Performance, frankly, just felt much faster than other notebook systems.

HP TouchSmart 9100

HP has done yeoman's work at integrating multitouch technology into its Windows 7-based PC platforms. Take, for example, HP's TouchSmart 9100, an all-in-one desktop PC. It runs Windows 7 Professional 32-bit, and the evaluation unit came to the CRN Test Center lab with an Intel (NSDQ:INTC) Core 2 Duo T6570 at 2.10GHz and 4 GB of RAM. It was built with a 300-GB HDD for storage. It scored a comparatively low 2,363 on Primate Labs' Geekbench 2 benchmarking software, but given all of the other functionality and strong points that's a misleading number.


With storage ranging from 16 GB to 64 GB and living up to the pre-launch hype, Apple's iPad can serve as either a robust mobile client device or could be considered a peripheral. Either way, the multi-touch, 24-ounce, half-inch thick iPad provides solid performance for accessing audio, video, books or Web content, provides great sound and display quality, and will change the way the market will access content when not tied to a desk, office or home. With pricing starting at $499, it's the real deal.

Ctera C200

Ctera bills itself as a company that will bring you into an era of Cloud-Attached Storage, and with the Ctera C200 that's exactly what it does. With fast setup and the ability to support two separate, 3.5-inch drives, it's possible to take one box and configure as much as 4 TB of client storage and backup -- over the Internet -- in a short amount of time. From that 7-inch-by-4-inch box, an enterprise can then back up to Ctera's cloud-based storage service as well. So consider it a two-fer: network and cloud-based storage starting at $499 list price.

Dell PowerEdge 810

After evaluation, the CRN Test Center recommends the Dell PowerEdge R810 as tested for its super-fast performance, reliability features, optimal compute density and easy administration, care and maintenance. List pricing starts at $4,999, and includes a single Nehalem-EX 6510 processor, 16 GB DDR3 1066 memory, 146 GB SAS (10K) drive and three-year warranty and support.

Dell Latitude Z

With a feature list that would have read like science fiction just two or three years ago, the wafer-thin Dell Latitude Z will appeal to well-heeled executives and device freaks alike. Starting at $1,799, the Z delivers a 16-inch 1600-by-900 LCD with touch-sensitive on-screen menu system, dual-core processor with hardware virtualization, 64-GB solid state hard drive and a "FaceAware" Web cam that doubles as a document scanner. There's also an embedded Linux boot feature for battery life when accessing Outlook and the Web.


NEC Display Solutions believes that the education industry will be fertile ground for 3-D content development as educators seek new ways to keep students engaged. Ahead of its ship date at the end of this month, the CRN Test Center took an exclusive hands-on look at the NP216, NEC's latest DLP projector, and its first with 3-D capability for the consumer market. At a list of $799 (3D Glasses not included), the ability to provide 3D content to an audience at the same price as 2D gives an interesting amount of flexibility in the projection space.

Stormor Sata HDD Dock

We're using and testing more drives today in the CRN Test Center lab than ever before, and one tool we use to ease the process is the Stormor HDD Dock -- which provides support for both 2.5-inch drives and 3.5-inch drives with USB connectivity to PCs or servers, as well as providing support for both SSD and HDD technologies. Sold by PPA International, it's also a nifty tool to use to physically take a drive and its data with you or to another location when not in use. At street pricing of about $30, it's fantastic.

Upek's Eikon To Go Digital Privacy Manager

With a USB-based, fingerprint authentication device and accompanying encryption software, Upek has delivered a simple, cost-effective way to deploy multifactor, biometric data protection. With street pricing of about $40, Eikon to Go is more than worth it for anyone seeking an on-the-fly answer to file encryption.