Definition: In the client-server computing model, the client is a computing device -- usually a PC -- that accesses a remotely-located server. The phrase "fat client" (also known as a "rich client") refers to a client computer that is powerful and fully-featured in its own right apart from the server and network.
An example of a fat client is a client PC that is equipped with lots of RAM, a large hard disk, a fast processor, and perhaps a speedy DVD drive. Fat clients often translate into a more rewarding computing experience for the end user, as the powerful local hardware can make software programs installed on that machine run faster.
The phrase "fat client" is often used in comparison to a "thin client", which is a user PC that tends to feature more modest hardware, with the network and remote servers relied more heavily upon for processing workloads.
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Also Known As: Rich Client
Related Terms: Client, client-server, network, server, thin client