Poll: Prebuilt or Build your own?

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Hardware Thread, Build your own vs Prebuilt in Technical; Just after some figures to get a general idea of what other schools are doing so thought i would start ...
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    mrbios's Avatar
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    Build your own vs Prebuilt

    Just after some figures to get a general idea of what other schools are doing so thought i would start a poll on this...

    We build our own from motherboard bundles, we ask for a spec, they send us a bundle (cpu/mobo/ram) then we buy other parts like hdd, case, psu seperately, generally i've found this to be a lot cheaper than buying prebuilt PCs but 6 years ago they used to buy all prebuilt PCs here, they have now all been replaced (got rid of the very last one today ) with our DIYs, it's obviously a lot less work to buy prebuilts though so i can see why some would do it that way, how do you do it?
    Last edited by mrbios; 19th May 2010 at 07:05 PM.

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    When I started last year all PCs had been self-built. None of them had windows OEM licenses (and so the select upgrade licenses weren't valid!) and cheap components were used. These cheap components have caused us real problems - we run at about a 20% failure rate and with 1yr warranties on most of the components everything is out of warranty.

    Given the time to build everything, the support costs and the windows licensing costs it;s just cheaper and easier for us to buy pre-built dell/HP machines.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Prebuilt unbranded here (such as Ruby)...reason being they offer 3 year next day on site warranty with everything they build as standard, and the warranty is new for old...can't argue with that!

    Plus the same machines we asked dell and ruby for, ruby came in at around 30 cheaper than dell per unit, plus dell wanted 50 on top per machine for the 3 year next day on site warranty, which over a class of 30 units, is quite a bit of cash! Also we didn't want to have to wait for ages being on the phone to run through tech support generic questions. Ruby ted to think that if you work in a school in the ICT dept, you can generally diagnose hardware failures!

    If you want the number for ruby (well the parent company that own them, and whom I do some deals with) give me a PM!

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    I think if you do a proper cost comparison you might well find that he pre-built work out cheaper. Your time costs a lot of money and unless you only have a small number of computers then the money spent on building and repairing can easily be more than the cost of buying standard PCs.

    It's not easy to be accurate with the cost comparison. For example, you need to include something to act as a warranty cost and it's hard to estimate in advance how many of your machines will fail inside the 3 years where HP, Dell etc will replace the components but outside the 1 year which your components probably have as a warranty.

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    mrbios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by srochford View Post
    I think if you do a proper cost comparison you might well find that he pre-built work out cheaper. Your time costs a lot of money and unless you only have a small number of computers then the money spent on building and repairing can easily be more than the cost of buying standard PCs.

    It's not easy to be accurate with the cost comparison. For example, you need to include something to act as a warranty cost and it's hard to estimate in advance how many of your machines will fail inside the 3 years where HP, Dell etc will replace the components but outside the 1 year which your components probably have as a warranty.
    Hard drives have a 3 year warranty
    Power supplies 2 years
    Motherboard bundles im unsure but i'd expect it's around 3 years, it's easy enough for us to get a replacement after a couple of years from our regular supplier

    As for time costs we consider our budget to be a far tighter asset than our time, time we can find and generally have a fair bit of when it comes to planned work, but our budget is tight for the size of the school and needs to be spent wisely, i don't tend to think of time as much of a cost.

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    broc's Avatar
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    Commercial pre-built systems supplied by DELL or similar have standard components & good driver support & makes re-imaging more easy.

    I inherited a network of 'mongrel' PCs when I took over & we had to virtually hand-build each system because of the variety of system boards, network adapters & graphics they had. We switched to commercial systems and can now handle 200+ desktops with maybe 3-4 images.....

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    ICT_GUY's Avatar
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    For school go pre built, when they fail you can slope shoulders to the company that supplied you. Build them yourself and SMT will for ever blame you for everything. The cost difference is usually in favour of prebuilt PC's anyway.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    I've voted for pre-built branded, but has we move more towards using multiseat systems we are looking more at building our own since it can be both expensive and difficult to get the spec 100% right for these systems using manufacture generic boxes.

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    bossman's Avatar
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    Prebuilt branded Dell for our servers.

    Prebuilt unbranded for our workstations which use branded internals (intel, corsair, elixer, WD, Seagate etc).

    Adopted standalone system with remnants of CC2.4.

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    DevilsAdvocate's Avatar
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    We use pre-built Dell machines. Though we do have a couple of rooms running custom self-builds. It's just easier all round really to buy pre-built machines.

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    Mostly Stone and HP machines here. We haven't built anything inhouse for about 4 years.

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    buzzard's Avatar
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    Dell and HP here, for us it came down to price. When I did quick calcs a few years ago in a previous post pre built came in a bit cheaper (not that much though) but it was good when we bought laptops for all staff (around the time of SIMS.net coming out) as our time was really taken up with supporting 250+ of those, it was nice to pick up the phone and pass all hardware faults over. If we could have had another Technician, we'd have tipped over to self built but as there was no chance of that we just fought for a bigger budget seling the idea af a formal rolling replacemnet that we'd done and taken to goveners etc.

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    webman's Avatar
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    @bossman: Don't forget to mention the 5 year on-site warranty

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    The biggest argument against building your own is time. Can't say I'd relish the idea of building a complete suite of 30 PC's. I have enough problem finding the time/motivation to build an OS image on from 1 OEM PC without having to go to the trouble of physically building 30 PC's from components.

    There are time being able to build your own is useful, but a lot of the time it's an hassle I'd could do without.

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    webman's Avatar
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    tmcd35 makes a very good point - what is your total cost of ownership for the lifetime of each of those DIY computers?

    Pre-built: initial unit cost, warranty usually included, and you don't have to worry about it yourself. Sometimes includes Windows licenses. None of your time (which costs money) is taken getting it to a working state.

    DIY: initial component cost. Warranties on parts - a year? Windows license may be bought as OEM? Your time is taken up when building (up to 30 mins per machine?), and also further on down the line when you are required to carry out repairs yourself. If you leave, who is responsible?

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