Fully rugged notebook PC powered by Intel i7

with Intel's i7 processor and updated graphics chip for high definition. The new notebook can be plugged into vehicle mounts designed for the older model.

That's not a big deal for MacBook Air or Samsung Series 9. But high-priced rugged computers are subjected to rain, grease, freezing cold, baking heat, vibration, crashes, drops, wear, and a thousand other stresses, indignities and abuses never visited upon standard PCs in a carpeted office. Rugged design is an intriguing blend of science and art.

RUGGED DESIGN: When devices just can't break

The GD8200 offers a range of improvements, covering everything from remote management and security features, via Intel's vPro features built into the i7 chip, to an improved touch interface with a touchpad that now supports multi-touch gestures.

Overall, the 8200 notebook simply packs more into the same form factor of 11.5 x 12.0 x 2.36 inches. The rugged design boost the weight to 7.8 pounds. Among the key changes compared to the older 8000 model:

CPU: The notebook is powered by a 2.2 GHz second generation Intel Core i7-2655LE CPU, the flagship chip for Intel's current notebook line. It can be clocked up to 2.8 GHz with Intel's TurboBoost 2.0. The chip runs the 32- or 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows 7 Professional, but Windows XP and Windows Vista can be ordered as custom images.

Screen: The touchscreen size is unchanged at 13.3 inches. But the touch sensitivity has been improved, and it makes use of a new version of the company's Dynavue display technology, introduced four years ago to make the screen viewable even in bright sunlight. The latest improvements create richer colors and crisper images, and complement the new Intel QM67 video controller with Intel HD Graphics 3000.

Faster memory: The 8200 has the same amount of DDR3 memory as its predecessor, 8GB, but its considerably faster, at 1333 MHz compared to 1067.

Expanded storage: Hard disk storage options, with a built-in heater, have been more than doubled, either 500GB or 720GB; it also supports a 500 GB hybrid hard disk for the first time. The option of a 120GB disk coupled with a 256GB solid state drive is unchanged from the older model.

Expanded I/O: The new notebook also sports 1 USB 3.0 port, which supports transfer speeds up to 5Gbps, and two (instead of three in the older model) USB 2.0 ports.

Higher protection: The new laptop supports a standard known as IP65, which offers a higher level of protection against water and dust getting inside the case.

LTE/4G, and HSPA+: Itronix upgraded all built-in antennas to support integrated LTE support. Customers can simply order the units with a cellular radio corresponding to their carrier's network. Itronix designed the radio module so it can been pulled out and replaced in the field, if the customer changes carriers, without having to send the unit back to a repair depot.

The 8200 also comes with 802.11n Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth version 2.1 with EDR, all built-in; a 56K modem, 10/100/1000 Ethernet RJ45 port; a wide range of security features, including an optional smart card reader that's now FIPS 201 compliant.

The company's data sheet for the GD8200 is online.

The new notebook will ship in July. Starting price, with a three-year warranty, is $4,460.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww

Email: john_cox@nww.com

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Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

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