Versatile, time-tested fixed-mount warehouse logistics computer gets performance boost
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
Swedish JLT Mobile Computers introduced the rugged JLT1214N on March 5, 2014 as its next generation logistics computer for a multitude of applications such as demanding data capture functions including video, corporate security software platforms, office applications as well as current and future capacity demands of Warehouse Management (WMS). Unlike the company's heavy-duty, Intel Core i7-powered VERSO 12 and VERSO 15 platforms with whom the JLT 1214N shares design and many components and specs, the JLT 1214N is available only in an Intel Atom-based configuration.
The JLT 1214N is essentially an upgrade, and the successor, to JLT's 1214S model. Like its predecessor, the new version measures 12 x 9.45 inches, is 2.3 inches thick, and weighs just under eight pounds. It runs on 18-72 Volts isolated VDC power, but can also use 9-36 Volts unisolated VDC power, and there's also has an internal backup battery good for up to 30 minutes of operation. All I/O is facing downward for easy, efficient mounting in vehicles or fixed locations. Also note the mounting holes for standard brackets and mounts (VESA, etc.).
Significant performance boost
Under the hood, the primary difference between the 1214S and the 1214N is a migration from the single-core 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 to the 1.86GHz dual-core Intel Atom D2550. The older N270, introduced in 2008 was a decent (albeit somewhat limited) performer that was used in literally tens of millions of netbooks. The D2550, while still positioned below Intel's Core processors, is four years newer, uses more efficient 32nm lithography (the N270 employed 45nm) and the 64-bit instruction set (the N270 was 32-bits), has two cores, runs at a higher clock speed, and can handle 4GB of RAM.
Interested parties should realize that this is much more than just an incremental update. In RuggedPCReview's benchmark testing of industrial panels and devices equipped with these two processors, the D2550 had at least a 2X performance edge over the older N270.
The D2550 also has Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3650 integrated graphics, and compared to earlier Atom designs, the chip count is down from three to two. The graphics core is running at a respectable 640MHz, compared to just 400MHz in the Atom D2500 of the same Atom generation, and in our benchmarks we found impressive OGL graphics performance.
Note that Intel considers this chip a low-end desktop processor as opposed to the N270's mobile CPU designation. As a result the D2550's thermal design power is 10 watts instead of the N270's 2.5 watts, but since the 1214N will always run on VDC power, the somewhat higher power draw is largely irrelevant. And the D2550 still does not require a fan.
Apart from the new processor, compared to the predecessor 1214S, RAM has doubled from 2GB of DDR2 to 4GB of DDR3, maximum CFast SATA mass storage has also doubled from 32GB to 64GB, wired Ethernet is now of the gigabit (10/100/1000) variety, and customers can now opt for WES7 Slim instead of just Windows 7 Pro and WES 7, and the 1214N is also Windows 8 and WES 8 ready. As before, there's dual-band WLAN with a sensitive PIFA (Planar Inverted-F Antenna) designed to make for reliable WiFi connectivity in areas with poor or marginal coverage. The 12.1-inch resistive touch display offers 1024 x 768 pixel XGA resolution and has a strong 500 nits LED backlight.
Tough, rugged, and reliable
Like all JLT Mobile products, the new 1214N panel computer is designed for reliability and longevity, which means it's rugged where it matters for fixed-mount systems. There's the very wide operating temperature range of -22 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit, which means they can be used in cold storage rooms as well as in desertlike climates. The device carries IP65 sealing, which means it's totally dust-proof and can also handle low pressure water jets from all directions. The panel is also shock and vibration resistant.
JLT points out that the new 1214N — based on the popular, mature and field-tested JLT 1214S computer — combines proven reliability with the significantly improved performance of the dual-core D2550 processor, a high integration of features, and the most compact design in its class. The goal also was providing the best total cost of ownership for many logistics applications ranging from warehousing and food distribution to freezer storage and cross-docking.