Thin client vendor Wyse Technology has been travelling Australia promoting a recent survey that suggests most users actually do prefer server-centric computing to desktop PCs.
Stevan Caldwell, marketing manager at Wyse Australia, said Wyse had commissioned UK market research firm Winmark to perform a double-blind, Pepsi Challenge type study to find out whether customers prefer thin or fat client computing.
What they found was that of 110 users, 72 percent believed they had booted up the thin client supplied in the study quicker than the desktop PC. Some 23.6 percent said the fat PC was quicker, while the remaining 4.5 percent were undecided, Caldwell said.
Some 54.5 percent thought the thin client performed faster overall, and 26.4 percent the PC. About 19.1 percent found the performances about the same. Some 60.9 percent liked the thin client best overall, and 26.4 percent the PC. About 12.7 percent did not have a strong preference for either, he said.
"Customers have seemed to find that in implementations of thin clients, there is a certain amount of personal ownership in a desktop," Caldwell said.
Users didn't actually prefer desktop computers if put to the test. "Seven out of the 10 surveyed [in total] expressed some preference for using thin clients," he added.
In the Wyse-sponsored survey, Winmark set up a thin client and a fat PC side by side, with keyboard, monitor and mouse the only visible hardware, he said.
Winmark used a 1.3GHz AMD Duron-based PC with 128MB of memory, a fast 100ATA 7200RPM hard disk, Nvidia Gforce 32MB graphics card, Microsoft Windows Professional 2000 as the operating system and Microsoft Office 2000 software, he said.
That was tested against a Wyse Winterm 1125SE thin client, the 'second cheapest' in Wyse's range, connected to a 2.4GHz Intel Zeon-based Citrix Metaframe server running Microsoft Office 2000, Caldwell said.
"They weren't the best or greatest systems but clearly typical one or two year old business machines," he said.
Although 110 was a small sample, Caldwell said the research company had calculated a one percent margin of error.
Wyse was using the results in marketing material for customers and resellers, Caldwell said.