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Thin client

Thin client definition

A thin client is a lightweight computer that is designed to connect to a server-based system. The server does most of the work, such as running applications and storing data, while the thin client itself only acts as an interface for the user. Thin clients don't have powerful hardware or lots of storage but excel at energy efficiency. The lack of hardware also helps keep these devices relatively cheap and easy to manage as well as scalable.

However, thin clients rely on consistent and stable network access and can't be used for high-performance tasks such as video rendering or playing games.

Thin clients are used in a variety of situations such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), deploying desktop environments from a centralized server. It can also be used in educational institutions to provide computer access in classrooms without the need for full PCs, remote work, and healthcare to enable secure patient record access.

See also: thick client, web client

Thin client examples

  • Dell Wyse series. A popular range of thin clients used in various business environments.
  • HP ThinPro. HP's range of thin clients is often used in enterprise settings.
  • Raspberry Pi. While it’s not a thin client itself, Raspberry Pi devices can be configured to function as thin clients.