General Dynamics Toughens Up with Itronix GD8000 Notebook

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General Dynamics is one of those companies best known for its aeronautical and marine engineering—and also, of course, a wide range of combat systems. But the company also makes a fair bit of information technology gear…and some of that is hardened up to handle exposure to elements, temperatures, and shocks that would send most civilians running for the protective glow of their Xbox 360s. Case in point: the new Itronix GD8000 rugged notebook computer, which meets full MIL-STE 810F ruggedness standards and offers a 10-hour battery lifetime. Although the system us aimed at military personnel, first responders, and field workers, there are plenty of professions—construction, wilderness management, ranching, freight, construction, transportation—where a tough notebook is the only alternative to no notebook at all.

The GD8000 weighs 7.9 pouds (fully tricked out) and features a magnesium and polycarbonate casing, a 13.3-inch touchscreen LCD display that’s viewable in direct sunlight, an Intel Core 2 Duo SL9400 processor, and 4 GB of RAM. The system features a 120 GB hard drive (64 GB SSD optional) and Intel GMA 4500 MHD graphics, and a bevy of wireless options, including Gobi 2000/EV-DO/HSPA WWAN, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, and an integrated GPS with a quadra helix antenna—oh, and an optional high power WLAN radio. The unit has a swappable media bay that can handle optical drives or a secondary battery, along with three USB 2.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, VGA out, and even a serial port. The GD8000 features a fully-sealed keyboard (optional backlighting available), and is available with a fingerprint reader, trusted platform module, and optical Computrace software to track the unit if it’s stolen or goes missing. The GD8000 is available with Windows XP or Vista. And the unit features a "stealth mode" boot up that starts the unit without emitting any sound or light.

And, of course, the ruggedness specs mean the GD8000 can handle up to 26 42-inch falls, is reasonable watertight (40 gallons blown at 40 mph over 4 hours while operating), and temperatures from -22° to 140°F.

The GD8000 is available immediately, with prices starting at $3,800.