Most computers tend to be fairly robust, but anyone who has ever spilt some water on their PC or left it out in the sun for too long is likely to be familiar with the need for a rugged PC.  Such machines are designed to be used in harsh natural environments, so they can withstand wet or dusty conditions, temperature extremes and strong vibrations.  Construction workers, military personnel or emergency services might all find themselves in need of a rugged embedded PC or a rugged transport pc – or, for in fact, anybody who has the need to protect their computer from the elements.

The best type of rugged PC is one that is specifically designed to be used in challenging  conditions, rather than adapted for the purpose.  The term ‘ruggedized’ is often used interchangeably with ‘hardened’, as these types of computers are similarly robust in design.  However, ‘hardened’ is generally used to describe computers that can withstand a bit more shock.

These computers come in various models, including stand-alone bench or desktop units, laptops, PDAs, wearable systems, and designs specific to the given installation.  What is common to all these models is that their design features are those which provide extra protection against the kind of harsh environmental conditions which, if a typical machine was exposed to them, it would break.  Therefore, users can be fairly certain  that their ruggedized PC will withstand a fairly intensive battering from the elements.

Utility trucks and similar vehicles can pose problems for standard computers, because of the vibration and jolts that are inevitable.  Ruggedized laptops are made of magnesium alloy metals, which make them 20 times stronger than commercial laptops.  Additionally, the hard drive of such a computer will be shock-mounted with foam or reinforcing material, so that it is as durable as the rest of the machine.  After all, it is worthless to have a super strength computer with a hard drive that cannot withstand being placed in a stressful situation.

A rugged embedded PC and a rugged transport pc will provide similarly decent  protection from wind, rain,or any other natural aggressor that it might come into contact with.  For those whose work or lifestyle makes tough demands on their technological equipment, a rugged PC really is the only viable option.  The security of knowing that your computer will be able to function, irrespective of the environmental conditions, is surely priceless, especially in a job with a high stress workplace such as the military or the armed forces.

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