Box computers are robust computers used in rugged and harsh industrial environments or for medical, gaming, process control automation, transportation, or embedded applications. These PCs have powerful processors, are powered by AC or DC, operate with cooling or are fanless, have a range of I/O interface capabilities and usually run on single board computers. Box PCs are used in harsh industrial conditions where stability and longevity are crucial, unlike for PCs used in office setups with clean and light environments. These PCs are normally embedded in remote locations where automation of machinery, etc. require compact, stable, robust and high power processing equipment or computing is essential.
Box PCs are normally mounted in industrial enclosures, gaming consoles or on complex machines and are usually shock and vibration resistant. They can be connected to a front panel and also have configurations that are specifically developed for operations with specific requirements in terms of price and performance. These application-specific embedded modular PCs find applications in governmental, transportation, defense, security, industrial automation, casino, in-flight and other virtual gaming, telecommunications, oil refineries, digital signage, environment monitoring, ATMs, electronic kiosks, ticketing machines and other applications. These PCs are either human operated or are automated through wired programs in their hard drives. These can also be used as standalone systems apart from being embedded in other applications for integration.
These PCs are made of Single Board Computers (SBC) or a combination of SBCs that offer the flexibility full-fledged computers on single boards. Box PCs are either mounted on a chassis with a power supply or require a backplane to function. These are differentiated based on the form or design or the bus interface used. These cater to the ever changing demands of the embedded market that requires less time to market, software and hardware that have long life, low cost, high flexibility and scalability of design and high computing speeds. Box computers also utilize computing standards, both proprietary and non-proprietary, along with various operating systems to develop programs for the specific application. These PCs are also designed for high density integrated systems that also require improved EMI shielding, optimized cooling, dust-free and shock resistant enclosures. These systems are also easy to install as all key system interfaces and functions are designed into the box or SBC with application specific I/O interfaces made available for easy connection in the real-time environment.