Comparison of NComputing and ASTER

There is the NComputing VDI system which is well known and deployed in many organizations. NComputing VDI users can choose several cloud providers like Microsoft, Citrix, VSpace, VMWare. All NComputing clients have to use NComputing thin clients.

NCompiting VDI

On the other hand, there are several multiseat solutions in the market such as ASTER, SoftXpand, VMWare, BeTwin, and others that don't require thin clients. All the peripherals like monitors, mouses, keyboards, mikes, speakers, and others are connected directly to the thick client PC. Below is the picture of a multiseat configuration. As computers become more powerful, the necessity in thin clients becomes less as time goes by.

ASTER Software

Multiseat solutions allow creating several workplaces based on one PC. It is possible to access any cloud services through multiseat workplaces. Therefore, the multiseat solutions could be used as a part of VDI.

This article is about the comparison of the ASTER multiseat and the NComputing multiseat systems.


The NComputing multiseat system requires a thick client PC and thin clients for every workplace. The prices of the thin clients are around $100 per unit.

NCompiting Thin Client
NComputing Thin Client

The thick client and NComputing thin clients are connected through LAN and switch. As a result of NComputing integration, your old computers will become free. As time goes by the NComputing clients become old and may not work once NComputing decides that they are obsolete. In this case, you need to replace all your NComputing thin clients with a new one. This is inconvenient and some customers even abandon the NComputing system because of this. It will be necessary to utilize all the old thin clients. You don’t have the freedom to choose thin clients other than from NComputing.

In contrast, ASTER is just a Windows application without thin clients. It is necessary just to connect all necessary peripherals (monitors, mouses, and keyboards) to one computer. Below is ASTER GUI with a set up of 2 workplaces.


ASTER Graphic User Interface

The ASTER multiseat system is based on an ordinary PC as a thick client. Based on one thick client it is possible to organize up to 12 workplaces - zero clients. Thus, it is possible to use your old PCs. It needs just additional video outputs to organize a multiseat system based on 1 PC. So, it is necessary just to buy an additional Graphics card with several video outputs. You can choose any graphics card which you want. ASTER supports all different HW configurations.

So, ASTER is more flexible in Hardware than NComputing.

Licensing Model

NComputing doesn’t have a lifetime license. NComputing has annual subscription licenses for around $10/year.

The ASTER licensing model is simple:

● A Home license is a subscription license for 1 year. Home license is for creating 2 workplaces and costs just $14.

● Pro licenses are lifetime licenses. The most basic license Pro-2 is for creating 2 workplaces and costs just $34. Using several Pro licenses it is possible to organize up to 12 workplaces.

The ASTER licensing model is much better for organizations as it has a lifetime license.

Security and fault tolerance

In the case that all work is done online, the security levels of both systems are the same as they are equal to the security level of cloud services. If one server fails, the client can connect to another server. Data storage is secured by cloud companies.

Both systems are dependent on the stable work of the thick client. It is important to organize good heat dissipation of the CPU of the thick client. In case damage happens to some critical HW part it would be necessary to replace the thick client with a new one and reactivate the ASTER license. Usually, it takes 1 working day.


In the case of NComputing, you need to wait for the delivery of NComputing thin clients. It takes some time and you get a well-working system.

In the case of ASTER, if your PC has 2 video outputs you can organize 2 workplaces based on 1 PC in 5 minutes. As ASTER has a fully functional 14-day trial period it is possible to check different HW configurations with the necessary number of workplaces. If you need more video outputs you need just to buy Graphics cards which could be delivered fast. Usually, a PC has 2 video outputs, so ASTER integration is simple in the case of organizing a multiseat system with 2 workplaces on 1 PC. But in the case of more workplaces, it is necessary to check HW parameters carefully. The PC should have enough power and the heat dissipation system good enough.

The ASTER integration with 2 workplaces on 1 PC is the most simple configuration for the integration as you just need to install ASTER SW and set up workplaces. As a result of this simplicity over half of all deployments have this configuration.

Total Cost of Ownership

The NComputing system does not significantly reduce the TCO of the organization. Old PCs are replaced by cheaper systems of thin clients and cloud services. The organization gets old PCs that are not used and have to be utilized. On the other hand, the organization has to pay high annual subscription fees to NComputing.

ASTER, on the contrary, reduces TCO by more efficient utilization of old PCs and by cheap lifetime license. The value of the license will grow as computers’ computational power increases from year to year. In addition, ASTER integration reduces costs of IT-infrastructure electricity consumption, purchases, administration, upgrades, updates, amortization, repairs, recycling.

ASTER reduces TCO very well.


In the case of online work, clients of both systems should use SW applications provided by cloud service companies. Both are the same in this case.

In the case of offline work, ASTER is more flexible as the thick client could be able to execute several instances of all necessary SW on the ASTER workplaces. NComputing thin clients do not have enough power to execute complex SW applications.

Network Administration

In the case of NComputing, it is necessary to plug the thick client and all the thin clients into LAN.

In the case of ASTER, it is necessary just to plug the thick clients to LAN.

As the number of LAN connections and number of computers is smaller, the network administration is easier for ASTER.

Ecology Impact

An impact on ecology becomes more and more important to be considered.

The NComputing solution requires replacing old PCs with their thin clients. Companies should recycle old PCs. Moreover, the NComputing thin clients also need upgrading and have to be recycled. NComputing improves ecology because companies use fewer computers with high computational power.

The ASTER multiseat system uses old PCs and does not require the usage of thin clients. ASTER could require more graphics cards in the case there are not enough video ports. But ASTER does not require expensive video cards. Thus ASTER reduces demand for computers and thin clients. As a result, it reduces recycling, mining, and HW manufacturing. Also, the electricity consumption of the company will be reduced as less HW is necessary for the ASTER system than originally.

Therefore, the ASTER multiseat is a more ecological solution than NComputing.


NComputing sells the system as a part of NComputing VDI with different cloud services providers like Microsoft, Citrix, Verde, VSpace, VMWare. But you cannot choose any other provider.

IBIK Software company gives freedom to all customers to choose a cloud service provider.

ASTER is more flexible in choosing cloud services providers.

Other factors

If we consider other aspects like electrical power consumption, space, and noise ASTER multiseat again looks more favorable as it consumes less power, occupies less space, and is less noisy.

Comparison Table

Multiseat system The multiseat system consists of a PC as a thick client and several NComputing devices as thin clientsThe multiseat system consists of a PC as a thick client and several zero clients. ASTER is a pure SW solution.
Peripherals connection method Simple. Monitors, keyboards, mouses, other peripherals are connected to the thin clients.Simple. Monitors, keyboards, mouses, and other peripherals are connected to the thick client PC (through additional video cards and USB hubs if necessary). The NComputing method with zero client devices is also available.
A maximum number of workplaces Many. Over 30 workplaces based on 1 PCMany. 12 workplaces based on 1 PC
Expenses More expensive. You need to pay: 1) for every thin client around $100; 2) annual subscription fee around $10 for every thin client; 3) for LAN switch; 4)for new thin clients once your client type becomes obsolete.Less expensive. You need to pay: 1) for a graphics card if you need more video ports. There are cards for less than $100 with 3 video ports; 2) for USB hubs if you need more USB ports; 3) for ASTER license for 1 additional workplace; 3) $14 annual; 4) $42 lifetime.
HW flexibility Not flexible. You have to use thin clients from NComputing. NComputing thin clients may not work once NComputing decides that they are obsolete.Flexible. ASTER supports over 98% of all graphics cards and USB Hubs available in the market.
SW flexibility Flexible. You can use the necessary SW on Virtual Machines of VDI.More flexible. Users can use the necessary SW on Virtual Machines of VDI. Users also can use any SW installed on the thick client if the EULA conditions of the SW are not violated.
Licensing flexibility Not flexible. There are only subscription licenses.Flexible. There are lifetime and annual licenses.
LAN for clients Necessary. Аll the thin clients and the thick client PC using LAN.Not necessary. Only thick client PC uses LAN.
OS flexibility Flexible. Windows and Linux.Less flexible. Any Windows OS.
VDI Flexible. You can choose only Microsoft, Citrix, Verde, VSpace, VMWare.More flexible. You can choose any VDI service company.
Electrical power consumption Low. There will be power consumption of the thick client and the thin clients.Very low. There will be power consumption only of the thick client.
Trial convenience Not convenient. It takes time to get the NComputing devices.Convenient. It is possible to use a 14-day trial period for free and create an additional workplace in just 5 minutes. It is possible to try full functionality during the trial period. It is possible to extend the period for B2B/B2G customers.
Ecology Ecologic. Less power consumption, less recycling, less HW demand because thin clients are used instead of computers.More ecologic. Less power consumption, less recycling, less HW demand because common off the shelve computer components are used.
Fault tolerance and security Tolerant and secure. It is necessary to take care of heat dissipation on the thick client to reduce the risks of damages by overheating.Tolerant and secure in case of using VDI. Fault on a thick client could be critical in case people work on it. In the case of using VDI, it is less critical. It is necessary to take care of heat dissipation on the thick client to reduce the risks of damages by overheating.
Remote access to workplaces Possible. NComputing has client software, which when installed on any old laptop or desktop can be used as a client (Leaf OS, VSpace Pro Client).Possible. It is possible to access the workplaces from home.

Download ASTER and use it for free during 14-day trial period.