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Hardware Thread, What spec for classroom computers in Technical; Starting to price up for new machines in the classrooms and wondered what spec other are using in the classroom? ...
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    Jobos's Avatar
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    What spec for classroom computers

    Starting to price up for new machines in the classrooms and wondered what spec other are using in the classroom?

    This is for a primary school so don't need anything too powerful but want them to last 4-5 years. They will be connected to XGA projectors and Activboards. I usually buy HP machines because they give little trouble but find the SSF to be a little large as in deep cases for the classrooms I've got in mind so will be looking for something wider rather than deeper.

    Cheers.

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    john's Avatar
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    Have you looked at the HP USFF format or the CMT or MT Format they make? They do have a wide range of shapes and sizes so may have something in a different chassis range that fits your needs.

    I would be looking at dual core, minimum of 2GB Ram, Windows 7 Pro Licence, 160gb hard drive, DVD-RW Drive, 1GB Network connection and 3 year on-site warranty.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    John pretty much nailed it on the head

    Dual Core - Preferably Intel Core 2 Duo...2.4Ghz or better
    RAM - DDR 3 if possible, atleast 2 GB Buffered
    HDD - 160GB minimum, unless you are going for SSD in which case 80GB is ample
    OS - Licence should be Win 7 professional at least so you have the option to downgrade to XP Pro or Vista Business
    1GB network port
    Wireless card for redundancy if you want it (we did and turned out to be a life saver when a switch blew!)

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    3s-gtech's Avatar
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    Agreed with above - 2 cores +, 2GB RAM, HDD not usually too important but bigger drives tend to be faster, Windows 7 Pro. I just picked up some machines from ICT Direct at this spec, but XP Pro licenced, for not much money. They'll take 7 with ease when licencing permits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3s-gtech View Post
    Agreed with above - 2 cores +, 2GB RAM, HDD not usually too important but bigger drives tend to be faster, Windows 7 Pro. I just picked up some machines from ICT Direct at this spec, but XP Pro licenced, for not much money. They'll take 7 with ease when licencing permits.
    How very spooky, so did I! In-fact it was a car full of them today to replace the PCs from a local firm that are just so unreliable and temperamental they take up over 80% of our support time.

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    Jobos's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. That's the sort of specs I had in mind. Any advice on what make of machine to go for or avoid? John is leaning towards HP and as I said above I usually go for HP as well. Both of my schools have a number of HP USFF machines but on this occasion I was thinking of avoiding this type as they lack a serial port and the machines will need to run old Activboards with serial connections.

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    john's Avatar
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    Could you not do as I did and use USB to Serial Adaptors for them?

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    TBH the USFF we have from hp I hate they are just to small and slow (even though intel core 2 duo 2gb ram but these where purchased as USFF first was properly brought out) - we have just replaced our oldest machines with Core I3, 4Gb ram, 160gb disks, 1gb lan from stone who (not sure if they still are) are running a scheme whereby they will buy back the machines after 5 years for 5% of the value - which on my last order of 70k is going to be a nice chunk! have had no major problems with them apart from the first 30 - from 180 around 10 of them had dodgy psu's which was a failure on a batch they had in - apparently other people have had the problems it was just these 10 happened to be the only ones we had from that batch - the other 170 we have had 1 hard disk go and the engineer comes out replaces the part no probs and has a coffee and a laugh then leaves!

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    The last machines we put in classrooms were likely over specced, but as I want them to last a good long time I think its worth it.

    We bought the computer I reviewed on my blog and so far I've had zero complaints about them. Build quality is excellent, and price in comparison to other manufacturers was superb.

    They also make 'Small'/'Micro' versions, which are even smaller then the Pro but obviously as you shrink machines you then have to make sacrifices (eg. no quad core processors in the Micro at a quick glance). They also make an 'all in one' machine, which might serve here.

    Buying a machine based around a need for an RS232 port is a mistake IMO - they are very old technology now, and most modern machines don't have them. Use a USB->RS232 adapter and then you're not tied to specific machines.

    Personally, spec-wise, to cover 5 years life expectancy and seeing the way many programs are growing in their needs, I would spec 4GB DDR3 RAM minimum, and be looking at a very decent dual core processor (i3) or a mid range quad core (i5). Hard disk, as others have said, 160GB is the standard sort of size now.

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    Jobos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john View Post
    Could you not do as I did and use USB to Serial Adaptors for them?
    Yes but it's sods law that something will go wrong with the adaptor when I'm not here.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jobos View Post
    Yes but it's sods law that something will go wrong with the adaptor when I'm not here.
    PCI card instead of a USB adapter? That way, you get your RS232 port, but also aren't limiting yourself to a having what is now a pretty specialist port on the motherboards.

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    I mainly go HP here - apart from an old batch of SFF machines with awful (and expensive) PSUs which are now being re-cased, they've been very reliable. Our new ones from ICT Direct (DC7700) are built like tanks. To be fair though, we have some Acer Veriton X270s and the build on them is good, just the nForce motherboards are poop.

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