Thin clients vs Ultra thin clients: The difference

Thin clients - For All IT

We regularly get the question “What is the benefit of an ultra thin clients compared to a thin clients.” And why should you choose for an ultra thin client? We have done the comparison for you.

Thin client

Thin clients are traditionally endpoint devices for desktop virtualization with a stripped down operating system. Most thin clients run on Linux or Windows. In addition to the operating system thin clients featured with an on local browser. It’s is quite difficult to get a virus on a Windows embeded system but that doesn’t mean you are free from viruses. Unlike an ultra thin client client, thin client requires more maintenance thinking of implementing updates.

Ultra thin client

Ultra-thin clients have no operating system on board. Ultra Thin Clients make use of a tuned onboard processor, designed specifically for one of the three virtual desktop protocol (PCoIP, HDX, or RemoteFX). These are protocols that make cloud computing possible. Most of the processes, such as displaying information and running of application takes place on a stand-alone or virtual server. Because everything takes place on the server means that the ultra thin client not only is more efficient than a thin client but it’s also immune to viruses. Ultra thin clients boot within seconds and reduce failure, this increases end-user productivity.

Thin clients vs Ultra thin clients

Operating system

Ultra thin clients have no operating system. They make use of hardware such as a virtual or a stand-alone server. An ultra-thin client uses specific thin client functions and that is not hosting an operating system.

That means:
Totally virus pro
No memory fragmentation
High robustness and availability
Boot within seconds

Thin clients use a local operating system, computer power (CPU) and storage.

That means:
Risk of virus
Inertia after software updates
Booting takes longer


Ultra thin clients use applications that are located on the virtual or stand-alone server. The ultra-thin client can run the most graphics demanding applications and support at the highest quality.

That means:
No application or security updates required
High screen refresh and graphic performance
Less IT management
Always up to date

Thin clients as opposed to ultra thin clients using local application..

That means:
Regular implementation of application and security updates
Slowness after software update
IT management will increase
Systems are not continuous up-to-date

Management and Configuration

Ultra thin clients do not have a operating system which benefits the set-up time and management. Should it occur that an ultra-thin client must be updated then this particular will be a little bios or chipset update. This update can be implemented immediately for all ultra-thin client using special software.

That means:
Less management for system as local user
Changes are immediately available
No backup and restore or necessary due to faulty software upgrade
Multiple ultra-thin clients manage at the same time is possible
Improved availability for the user

Thin clients have an operating system. This can be very challenging for IT managers. This because thin clients needs regularly (major) updates.. These updates can not be made simultaneously. This means each thin client has to be updated one by one. Updates work in a thin client only after the system reboot.

That means:
Management expenses increased
Changes are not readily available
Devices can react differently after the update
No up-to-date system
Errors in software may cause availability problems


Ultra thin clients have no moving parts such as a fan or hard drive. That means ultra thin client are better to use in harsh conditions such as a dusty or damp environment. Because applications are not installed locally ultra thin client will not suffer from performance issues. These two elements ensure that this machine will last much longer.

That means:
No performance problems
Robust and therefore ideal to use in harsh conditions

Thin clients have in relation to an ultra-thin client a local CPU and storage. In addition, they use local applications. Due to the growing memory of software updates and the remain storage and CPU alike will have adverse effects on at length for the performance of the device. This allows a thin client has a much lower longevity than an ultra-thin client.

That means:
A system that will be slowly over time and therefore more in need of replacement
On longer term no space for software update
Due to rotating parts not ideal for harsh environments

Would you like to experience the benefits of an ultra thin client? Take advantage of our 30 day free trial. Request your demo. Instantly receive a quote? Request your quote here.