GCN LAB REVIEW
Parvus DuraCOR 810
On-board computer can handle a rough ride
- By John Breeden II
- Oct 26, 2009
Rugged computer for vehicles; brackets designed for easy mounting in most military vehicles.Cons:
Expensive; somewhat slow processor; only really useful based inside a vehicle.Ruggedness:
BEase of use:
The Parvus DuraCOR 810 looks a little bit like part of a weapons system and, under the right circumstances, could become one.
The little brick is actually a computer with a low-power 1.4 GHz Pentium M processor mounted inside an aluminum case. The unit we tested ran an embedded version of Windows XP, though you can also pick up a DuraCOR 810 with Linux. There are metal brackets running down the side of the case that match the standard configuration on the inside of a military Humvee, though Parvus can change that to match any vehicle.
To test the DuraCOR 810 in the lab environment, we had to attach a locking Mil-Dtl 38999 circular connector, which looks like a hose at one end and a mass of frayed ports at the other. Once connected, we had access to an RJ-45 Ethernet connection; 4 USB ports; 2 RS-232 ports; and a VGA, KVM and audio port. We also had to use a secondary power supply because we were plugging the DuraCOR into a standard outlet rather than hardwiring it into a ground or air vehicle.
In addition to the port we used to attach a monitor and keyboard, it has a 79-pin expansion connection that can be used to interface with individual systems in vehicles for military or aerospace applications.
Once connected, the DuraCOR worked like a normal computer, though it looked a bit like Frankenstein's monster in the GCN Lab. It got a score of 235.3 on the Passmark Performance Test benchmark, which is a bit slow. Though depending on the application, that performance might be OK. It can’t do 3-D graphics, but for a vehicle computer, that is probably not much of a problem.
The unit has good venting in the rear, though the entire case acts as a giant heat sink. The heat and humidity of the GCN Rainforest environment didn’t bother it. It was even able to maintain benchmark results inside the 120 degree chamber. We also subjected it to blowing water. You would think someone would close the window if conditions were that terrible outside a vehicle, but if they don’t, the DuraCOR 810 will continue to function.
The biggest force acting against a vehicle-mounted device will probably be vibration. We subjected our review unit to constant vibration for more than three hours, and it never flinched, making it the sturdiest vehicle-mounted computer system we have ever tested.
At $8,515, the DuraCOR 810 is a little expensive, but if you need to drop a computer into your military or aerospace vehicle, you are probably more concerned with mission survivability than cost. And the DuraCOR 810 survived everything we threw at it.
Parvus, 800-483-3152, www.parvus.com
John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.