Aren't 486 CPUs obsolete?
Intel took final orders for DX4-100 486 processors in 2007, however ESA continues to source these CPUs and produce the TF-486 motherboard. Further, ESA is introducing a new 486 SOC based Baby AT motherboard in 2009 that will have new components and a speed switchable, auto recovery processor..... stay tuned.
How can I insure that my system is "long life"?
Typically, long life means that the system is capable of being duplicated without a major functional change 2-5 years from creation. Hard drives, optical drives, and some other minor components change fast. The key is to effectively freeze the mainboard and CPU for as long as possible. Some say that a Single board Computer (SBC) and backplane combination will offer built in longevity but it only takes one of these to go obsolete, without a replacement, and the system cannot be repeated easily.
Intel's embedded CPU and chipset products offer long life with few changes. They are targeted for the industrial market. ESA utilizes these products along with stable mainboard designs to build longevity into its industrial systems.
Is the Atom processor faster than a Pentium?
Not generally. The Atom was developed for low heat small footprint applications. Fewer transistors were used to achieve this. Initial designs lacked hyperthreading technology so the only Pentium the Atom could out-perform was the Tualatin Pentium M. Intel recently launched two new Atom models to boost system performance while maintaining a similar TDP (Thermal Design Power) parameter as the previous version. The two models are called Z550 and Z515. The Z550 is enhanced with a higher core frequency of 2.0 GHz and the Z515 gains BPT (Burst Performance Technology) which matches the speed to user requirements (800MHz to 1.2GHz). The process technology remains at 45-nm.
Why don't they make a computer chassis with a rotatable drive bay?
They do. Correction, we do! The drive bay on ESA's new steel Multi-Flex™ Chassis can rotate 3-ways. If you ordered a desktop but decide you really need a tower, the changeover typically takes less than four minutes. No more falling DVDs or awkward floppy disk insertions.