Main Features / Overview
Thin clients harken back to the days of mainframe computing when user terminals were 'dumb' and all of the computing happened in a central location. Contemporary PC networks and ever more powerful PCs killed that system architecture similar to the way cars did trains, but thin clients are part of an effort by some companies to reinvent more centralized compute systems where such systems might make more sense.
Contemporary thin clients are essentially a very low performance PC, with a fraction of the compute power, no hard drives optical drives - just connections for a monitor a keyboard and USB peripherals. This WYSE Winterm S30 thin client is just that - in a nutshell it is a very low-grade PC with PC architecture - CPU/Northbrdge/Southbridge, with many of the interface functions and chips you would expect in basic PC architecture (Audio codecs, USB controllers, etc.).
Furthermore, although it obviously is less expensive to make even by casual observation (no hard drives, optical drives, minimal footprint, etc.), internally the key to making this system cheaply is the application of an outmoded (and therefore inexpensive) core CPU. In fact - in most motherboards we see, by far the most expensive items are the CPU and supporting chipset. The rest of the motherboard are mostly highly commoditized components with many multiple sources and aggressive pricing from component vendors. By choosing such an inexpensive chipset the WYSE design makes this thin client exceptionally inexpensive to produce for the right company.
At the end of the day, however, the real question will be can a company like WYSE, with much lower production volumes, compete effectively against conventional desktops, which frankly can also be purchased, when spec'ed appropriately) as inexpensively, or possibly less expensively than WYSE plans to sell them? The savings to customers may only be on the IT service side - as well as a possible perceived gain because of the very small footprint needed to install the device which takes up little more space than a DSL or cable modem.
What's most interesting is that despite a very low cost structure internally - it appears that Wyse may be able to charge the market as much for this device as Desktop sellers selling much more powerful and populated desktop PCs with thinner margins.
Many businesses do not actually require users to run full-blown PCs - it's overkill in an environment where multiple terminals (in a call center, for example, or at Gold's Gym (a customer of WYSE's)), primarily run a limited software package that could be run off of a central server, and require minimal compute power at multiple workstations.
This could potentially reduce the cost of IT set-ups in these kinds of companies and applications significantly, as well as simplify the IT / hardware maintenance function for IT departments in general saving both on equipment, service and even loss due to theft, etc. This may end up being the curs of WYSE's (and competitors) sales arguments as it appears that these do not sell as cheaply as one might imagine in the open market.
Q1 2005 assumed based on press releases and product literature. Exact date unknown.
It may be futile to cite 'street pricing' for this kind of device as, when purchased by large corporations (the main buyers of such a product) corporate discounts and package deals will be negotiated, however as basic points of reference this thin client was found online from multiple sources ranging from $400. Considering that basic desktop PC's which much more features can be purchased as cheaply, or much less if downgraded - there is no real street price advantage against conventional architecture, at the 'desk' level. Again - it is understood that such systems, when negotiated as packages may sell, on a per unit basis, much less expensively.
For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed that WYSE will produce 500K units of this device during the product lifetime, which is expected to last 2 to 3 years - longer than most PCs which have very short product lifetimes because of constant feature upgrades. In this market we are assuming that constant feature, CPU and storage-driven feature upgrades will not happen nearly as frequently.
As a reminder, volume production assumptions are not meant to be necessarily 'market accurate', and our meant primarily to be used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially).
Function / Performance
No performance testing was performed.
The key to making this system so inexpensive is the application of a very inexpensive core processor / chipset from AMD. Based on silicon modeling as well as street price points of reference, we estimate the total contribution of this AMD chipset at around or about 28% of the total direct materials costs in the BOM. As processors / CPUs go - this is extremely low-cost, and in fact the most interesting thing about the whole design is how inexpensive it is.
The bulk of the rest of the parts are very 'motherboard standard', VIA Tech USB host controller, RealTek Ethernet controller and Audio Codec, etc., and are assumed to be purchased competitively, but with potential for improvement. This is a risky assumption, as it is possible that WYSE, their EMS or ODM partners may or may not be able to purchase these core components at such prices.
Main Cost Drivers
AMD - AGXD466AAXD0CC - CPU - AMD Geode GX 466 Processor, w/ Integrated Northbridge Functionality - (Qty:1)
Hynix - HY5DU561622ETP-J - SDRAM - DDR, 256Mb (16Mx16), 2.5V, 166MHz @CL2 - (Qty:4)
AMD - CS5535 - Southbridge / Companion Device - I/O Controller Hub - (Qty:1)
Samsung Semiconductor - K9F1208U0B-PCB0 - Flash - NAND, 512Mb (64M x 8bits), 3.3V - (Qty:1)
VIA Technologies - VT6212L - USB 2.0 Host Controller - 4-Port, 0.22um - (Qty:1)
SST - SST55LD019A-45-C-TQWE - ATA Flash Disk Controller - (Qty:1)
RealTek Semiconductor - RTL8100C - Fast Ethernet Controller - Single-Chip, w/ Power Management - (Qty:1)
IDT - MK1491-09F - Clock Synthesizer - AMD GEODE™ GX2 Clock Source - (Qty:1)
RealTek Semiconductor - ALC655 - Codec - Audio, AC97 2.3, 6-Channel - (Qty:1)
Accessories / Other
Dee Van Enterprise - DSA-0421S-12 - AC Power Adaptor - Input 100-240V, Output 12V 2.5A - (Qty:1)
Mfg Unknown - KU-8933 - Keyboard - 104 Keys, USB, Black - (Qty:1)
Logitech - M-SBJ96 - Pilot Wheel Mouse - 3 Button, Roll, PS/2 - (Qty:1)
Direct Materials & Manufacturing $88.08
What Is Not Included in our Cost Analysis
The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.
Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions
The WYSE device appears to have been assembled completely in Mexico based on both device-level, and PCBA level markings. External accessories are primarily from China based on markings.
Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of 'finished' sub-assemblies (such as accessories), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.
Remember also that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. ?Auto inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.
Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity
We use component counts as the one measurable and clearly defined 'metric' by which we can compare and judge the relative complexity of devices and comment as to where a given device fits in the spectrum of overall manufacturing cost and complexity between devices.
Furthermore, as we have not torn down previously any other 'thin clients' it's hard to make the most meaningful points of comparison - however, one the devices we have recently seen that comes closest is actually the Apple TV box which also features down-scale PC architecture in small package with really only a few key hardware feature differences, namely the HDMI output and hard drive - otherwise, oddly they are the closest match - or just a barebones motherboard for that matter. Having said that, the total component count in the WYSE Winterm S30 is very modest and comes in at a total of only 594 overall (not including external accessories, etc.). Considering that even the most basic barebones motherboards we have seen recently have more like 670 - 750 components and up (motherboard only!) - this device is a very simple one. Much of this can be explained by the lack of need for expandability so all the typical PC connectors for PCI cards, DIMM sockets, CPU sockets, etc. are gone helping to greatly reduce the overall component count.
Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design. Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.
As mentioned above - the WYSE Winterm S30 thin client features essentially a very barebones motherboard with conventional PC architecture that basically leverages a very inexpensive, off-the-shelf core AMD chipset. Below are all of the major components applied in the WYSE Winterm S30 thin client:
Main PCB (Motherboard)
- CPU - AMD - AGXD466AAXD0CC - AMD Geode GX 466 Processor, w/ Integrated Northbridge Functionality
- AMD - CS5535 - Southbridge / Companion Device - I/O Controller Hub
I/O & Interface
- Codec - RealTek Semiconductor - ALC655 - Audio, AC97 2.3, 6-Channel
- USB 2.0 Host Controller - VIA Technologies - VT6212L - 4-Port, 0.22um
- Ethernet Controller - RealTek Semiconductor - RTL8100C - Single-Chip, w/ Power Management
- I/O Controller - iTE - IT8761E - Super I/O Device, LPC Interface
- SDRAM - Hynix - HY5DU561622ETP-J - DDR, 256Mb (16Mx16), 2.5V, 166MHz @CL2 (Qty: 4)
- Flash - SST - SST49LF020A-33-4C-NHE - 2Mb (256Kx8), LPC Interface
ATA Controller Board
- NAND Flash - Samsung Semiconductor - K9F1208U0B-PCB0 - 512Mb (64M x 8bits), 3.3V
- Flash Disk Controller - SST - SST55LD019A-45-C-TQWE - ATA Flash Disk Controller
- Power Supply (External) - Dee Van Enterprise - DSA-0421S-12 - Input 100-240V, Output 12V 2.5A
- Keyboard - Mfg Unknown - KU-8933 - 104 Keys, USB, Black
- Mouse - Logitech - M-SBJ96 - Pilot Wheel - 3 Button, Roll, PS/2
- Power Cord - Volex - E62405SP - AC Line Cord