Couldn't you just buy a cheap PC and do the same thing? Yes and no. You could buy all the components necessary to accomplish the same functions and keep your application costs down by using open-source software (see our recent review of low-cost servers at www.nwc.com/1415/1415f3.html). But your costs probably would be equal to the Taurus' or greater after you added similar features and invested in the hi-tech manual labor necessary to get the applications to cooperate.
click to enlarge
The beauty of the Taurus is its simple elegance. The server fits in a briefcase, needs no keyboard or monitor and could, in just a few minutes, provide an entire lecture hall of wireless laptop users with the complete dataset, including images and video, for a lecture series. In about an hour, you could set up and configure one Taurus to support shared print, Web, mail and file services for a satellite office with dozens of wireless users, and still administer the appliance remotely from a central location through the Web or direct dial-up.
I tested a preproduction, entry-level system based on a 900-MHz Intel Celeron processor and configured with 256 MB of RAM and a single 40-GB ATA-100 hard disk. Procom said that all retail versions, at minimum, will sport a 1.2-GHz Celeron processor, and the company will offer six versions that will increase the RAM to 512 MB and up the storage to 125 GB or 250 GB.
Initially, the device must be configured via four soft-touch keys and an X-Y navigation pad that surround a backlit, 128x64 graphic LCD display located on the front panel. Above the display are five status LEDs for power, disk, LAN-0&1 and PCMCIA, a configuration that allows virtually all the Taurus' functions to be controlled and monitored through the front panel.