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Getac X500 and X500 Server

Full-size, full-featured rugged notebook computer and server now offer state-of-the-art Haswell technology, more storage, and faster connectivity
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

On May 20, 2014, Getac announced significant upgrades to its flagship Getac X500 ultra rugged notebook and X500 rugged mobile server. The X500 platform is a large, top-of-the-line, full-featured rugged mobile computer that combines the expandability and customization potential of a full-size laptop, the large screen size and emphasis on high-performance graphics needed for high-end GIS and mapping applications, and the overall performance, handling and flexibility of Getac's B300 mainstay notebook computer.

Right upfront, here are the upgrades:

  • Haswell processors — The new X500 and X500 servers benefit from a massive processor upgrade, going from first generation Intel Core processors all the way to 4th generation "Haswell" CPUs. X500 customers get the choice of a Core i5-4600M or a Core i7-4600M, both powerful standard-voltage dual-core processors with integrated Intel HD Graphics 4600. The X500 Server gets a quad-core i7-4800QM. Getac estimates CPU performance improvements of 55%.

  • Graphics — Graphics capabilities integrated into Intel's Haswell processors are vastly more powerful than what was available in the chips used in the original X500. And the X500 is one of the few rugged machines available with optional discrete graphics. The latter have also been upgraded to 2GB nVidia GeForce 745M status, resulting, according to Getac, in an almost 3X improvement in graphics performance.

  • Storage — Maximum RAM is up to 16GB in the X500 and 32GB in the server version. Optional SSDs available for the X500 are now 128GB or 256GB. The server version can be equipped with up to three 1TB drives, configurable as RAID 0 (striping for superior performance), RAID 1 (mirroring for redundancy), or RAID 5 (block-level striping with redundancy).

  • Wireless communication — WiFi is much faster due to a switch to Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 802.11ac. Bluetooth has also been upgraded to version 4.0, Class 1.

  • Wired communication — The X500 and X500 Server now offer USB 3.0, offering potentially up to ten times the speed.

  • Related improvements — Jumping from first-gen to fourth-gen Intel Core processors adds a gamut of processor-integrated features and capabilities adding to performances, management and security of the X500 and X500 Server.

For those not familiar with the X500, it's a modern, full-size, full-function multi-purpose rugged notebook computer with a large display and substantial expansion potential via an optional PCI or PCIe expansion unit that fits under the computer. "Full-size" here means a 16.1 x 11.4 inch footprint—about as large as that of today's 17-inch consumer notebooks—and a weight of almost 12 pounds for the base machine and about 19 pounds for the server version. The X500 has a very bright 15.6-inch LCD display with Getac's unique resistive multi-touch and wide-format 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution (the same as the 1080p HDTV standard). The upgrade to 4th generation Intel Core processors significantly improves the earlier version's already excellent performance. Here's a summary of the available processors:

Getac X500 available CPUs
Model X500 X500 X500 Server
CPU Core i5-4300M Core i7-4600M Core i7-4800MQ
Cores/Threads 2/4 2/4 4/8
CPU speed 2.6/3.3GHz 2.9/3.6GHz 2.7/3.7GHz
CPU TDP 37 watts 37 watts 47 watts
Graphics HD 4600 HD 4600 HD 4600
Graphics speed 400MHz/1.25GHz 400MHz/1.30GHz 400MHz/1.30GHz
Cache 3MB 4MB 6MB
Intel FDI No Yes Yes
Intel Clear Video HD No Yes Yes

Bottom line here: the X500 is larger and offers a larger display than any other machine in Getac's lineup (or in rival Panasonic's, for that matter). It benefits from significant technology advances with fast 4th generation Core processors, Getac's very bright QuadraClear display technology, optional nVidia graphics, etc. It has an attractive modern design, and for those who need it, there's the expansion unit that provides access to conventional full-size expansion cards. Its availability means that special purpose functionality that is simply not available in standard notebooks can easily be integrated into the Getac X500.

But let's take a closer look at the X500's components and features:

Powerful Intel 4th generation Core processors

All available CPUs are part of Intel's 4th generation Core processor lineup. These are ultra-modern 22nm dual and quad core standard voltage "Haswell" designs that work in conjunction with Intel 8 Series chipsets. Compared to the first-gen processors in the initial X500 version, the new chips offer greater performance, much better graphics performance, and much better power conservation features.

Large, bright, sunlight-viewable display

The X500's 15.6-inch display is the largest in Getac's lineup and it also benefits from a variety of Getac's advanced display technologies. "QuadraClear" is a combination of linear and circular polarizers, anti-reflective coatings and a very bright 800 nits backlight (a standard notebook has only about 200 nits). This means the X500's display is exceptionally readable and usable outdoors and even in sunlight. A touch screen appears to be standard, and it uses Getac's unique resistive multi-touch technology that can be used with gloves.

Discrete graphics option

As for graphics, while Haswell's integrated graphics are very powerful already, discrete graphics can significantly boost graphics performance for a variety of specialized tasks. What does "discrete graphics" mean? It means having a powerful separate graphics subsystem instead of just the graphics integrated into the the CPU. Such separate, or "discrete," graphics can greatly boost video performance, especially when it comes to 3D and OpenGL graphics.


The X500 can support up to 16GB of fast DDR3 RAM and comes with a speedy 500GB SATA hard disk (customers may select the optional 128 or 256GB solid state disk instead). The multimedia bay of the X500 can accommodate a Super-Multi DVD reader/writer, an optional second battery, or an optional second hard or solid state disk (which can be configured for RAID).


For connectivity, the X500 offers three USB 3.0 ports, a combo USB/eSATA port (used for certain high-speed external data storage devices), two RS232 serial ports, two gigabit LAN jacks, VGA and HDMI video, audio in and out, dock, and optional antenna pass-throughs for WWAN, WLAN and GPS.

Lots of expansion

For expansion, in addition to the optional PCI/PCIe expansion unit, there is a PC Card Type II slot, an ExpressCard 34/54 mm slot, and Smart Card and SD Card readers.


On the wireless side you get 802.11ac via Intel's Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 WiFi module with Bluetooth 4.0.

Battery power

Since the X500 packs a significant punch with its standard voltage Core processors, big display, and numerous hardware features, it needs a battery large enough to offer acceptable battery life whenever the big unit is away from an outlet. To facilitate that, the X500 comes with a powerful 8,700mAH Li-Ion smart battery as well as an optional secondary battery of the same capacity that goes in the media bay.


As far as ruggedness goes, the X500 falls into the "ultra rugged" category. The X500 is MIL-STD-810G certified for ruggedness and shock protection, there's IP65 sealing (full protection against dust, protection against low pressure water jets from all directions), and a very wide operating temperature range of -4 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit.

The predecessor X500 also addressed MIL-STD-2169B for High Altitude Magnetic Pulse (HEMP), UL1604 certification (safeguarding against causing ignition of specified flammable gas- or vapor-air mixtures), and other certified military standards such as MIL-STD-464A and MIL-STD-461F (electromagnetic interference). The original Getac X500 was also NightVision-ready for use in battlefield environments and it is EPEAT Gold certified for environmental/green features. All these certifications probably apply to the new X500 as well.


Security is addressed via a combination of hardware and software measures, including a finger print reader, a Smart Card reader, TPM 1.2, a cable lock slot, Intel security technologies available through Intel's 4th gen Core processors, as well as BIOs, password and software utility settings.

X500 vs. X500 Server

What are the differences between the X500 and the X500 Server? They start with the same general rugged notebook platform, but whereas the standard X500 is configured and optimized as a high-performance mobile computer, the X500 Server comes configured as a mobile server with emphasis on maximum server performance, expandability, flexibility, and data storage integrity.

The Getac 2014 X500/X500 Server — a significant upgrade to a solid, rugged platform, now with state-of-the-art performance and communications features

With the 2014 upgrades, Getac brings state-of-the-art performance and technology to its unique, rugged X500/X500 Server platform. It's modern and fully up-to-date technologywise, its display is large enough for any application and bright enough to be used anywhere, it has plenty of onboard wired and wireless connectivity, it's rugged enough to hold up well in the field (and there's a 5-year bumper-to-bumper warranty!), and it has unparalleled expansion potential thanks to the optional PCI/PCIe expansion chassis.
Specifications Getac X500/X500 Server
Status Added 06/2011, updated 05/2013, updated 05/2014
Form-factor Rugged notebook computer/mobile server
CPU X500: Intel Core i5-4300M or i7-4600M
X500 Server: Intel Core i7-4800MQ
CPU Speed X500: 2.6/2.9GHz (3.3/3.6GHz turbo)
X500 Server: 2.7 (3.7GHz turbo)
Thermal Design Power X500: 37 watts
X500 Server: 47 watts
Chipset Intel 8-Series
Graphics Integrated Intel HD Graphics 4600; optional nVidia GeForce 745M discrete graphics with 2GB
OS X500: Windows 7 Professional
X500 Server: Windows Server 2012 or Windows 7 Pro
RAM/ROM X500: up to 16GB DDR3
X500 Server: up to 32GB DDR3
Storage X500: 500GB SATA hard disk; optional 128GB or 256GB SSD
X500 Server: Three SATA 1TB Hard Drives (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5)
Optical storage Super-multi DVD drive in multimedia bay
Media Bay Can accommodate Super-multi DVD drive, 2nd battery or 2nd HD or SSD
Card slots 1 x PC Card Type II, 1 x ExpressCard 34/54mm, Smart Card, SD Card
Optional expansion unit with either two PCI Express cards or two full-sized PCI cards
Display type TFT LCD with LED backlight and QuadraClear sunlight readable display technology
Display size/res 15.6-inch/1920 x 1080 pixel, 800 nits QuadraClear
Digitizer/pens Optional resistive multi-touch
Keyboard/keys Full-scale waterproof backlit membrane keyboard; optional waterproof backlit rubber keyboard
Navigation Directional controls, touch pad, fingers (with optional multi-touch)
Housing Magnesium alloy case
Operating Temp -4° to 131°F (-20° to 55°C)
Sealing IP65
Shock Unknown
Vibration "MIL-STD-810G compliant"
Certifications UL1604, MIL-STD-464A, MIL-STD-461F, EPEAT gold
Size (WxHxD) X500: 16.1 x 11.4 x 2.5 inches
X500 Server: 16.1 x 11.4 x 4.6 inches
Weight X500: 11.4 lbs.
X500 Server: 18.9 lbs.
Power 8,700mAH Li-Ion smart battery; optional media bay 2nd Li-Ion battery (8700mAh)
Camera Optional 2mp webcam
Interface 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB2.0/eSATA, 2 x RS232, 2 x RJ45 gigabit LAN, 1 x VGA, 1 x HDMI, 1 x 1394a, audio in/out, docking; optional: RF antenna pass-through for GPS/WWAN
Expansion unit Adds either 2 x PCI Express or 2 x full-size PCI
Wireless Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 class 1, optionalSiRVstarIV GPS with internal antenna
List price X500: Starting at US$4,999
X500 Server: Starting at US$13,999
Warranty 5 year "bumper-to-bumper"
Webpage X500 and X500 Server on
Brochure Getac X500 and X500 Server
Getac, Inc.
43 Tesla
Irvine, CA 92618