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Hardware Thread, What New Desktops To Buy For An I.T Suite? in Technical; ...
  1. #46
    mrbios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterW View Post
    Very nice mrbios, you need some of these though
    Ekit Mdhek Multi Desk Hub With 3 Usb Ports, Audio Ports and Card Readers: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

    (not sure about getting CE approval though)
    I love that idea, but at £10 a go compared to what equates to abotu 50p per PC for the individual cables it wouldn't be worth it as they'd get trashed pretty quickly no doubt

    Every summer we do a circuit of the IT rooms and replace broken audio and usb cables

    EDIT: oh and cable ties are a must with this kind of setup!
    Last edited by mrbios; 1st June 2011 at 07:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbios View Post
    Ah sorry just noticed that was cpu/motherboard/memory price (i was looking at the bundle price )

    £120-130 for motherboard processor and ram
    £57 SSD
    £25 PSU

    Still a bargain though

    Just replaced a classroom of 19" 4:3 TFTs with 31 BenQ G2220HDBL 22" 16:9 TFTs for £85 each too.
    Sure is even if you added a case to that, just over 200 quid!

  3. #48
    mrbios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve_T View Post
    Sure is even if you added a case to that, just over 200 quid!
    I get quite funny with people on here who are spending £350+ per base unit for regular bog standard student and teacher machines, i try to make a habbit of purchasing the right machiens for requirement. My (unpopular) opinion is that a few people here don't do that and they go for the simplest choice and that they're wasting our taxes, one example is that im yet to find any application any stanard secondary or primary school would have that would need the power of an i5 or an i7 EXCEPT dedicated video editing machines (but i don't mean windows movie maker!) yet people still buy them.

    I understand though that it works on a school by school basis, no two schools are the same, but i'm willing to bet i could walk in to quite a lot of schools and be disgusted with they're spending (i include my own in that, but not in the ICT spending as i now deal with a lot of it, though my manager deals with most of it still)

  4. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbios View Post
    I get quite funny with people on here who are spending £350+ per base unit for regular bog standard student and teacher machines, i try to make a habbit of purchasing the right machiens for requirement. My (unpopular) opinion is that a few people here don't do that and they go for the simplest choice and that they're wasting our taxes, one example is that im yet to find any application any stanard secondary or primary school would have that would need the power of an i5 or an i7 EXCEPT dedicated video editing machines (but i don't mean windows movie maker!) yet people still buy them.

    I understand though that it works on a school by school basis, no two schools are the same, but i'm willing to bet i could walk in to quite a lot of schools and be disgusted with they're spending (i include my own in that, but not in the ICT spending as i now deal with a lot of it, though my manager deals with most of it still)
    Kinda of the same but I get machines that I know will last best example (Though laptops) before I was here they brought £300 HP laptops that lasted less that 2.5 years! brought some at £400 and they will definitely last 4-5 years easy. Its all about making the right choice as I thought about the purchase for many months.

  5. #50
    mrbios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irsprint84 View Post
    Kinda of the same but I get machines that I know will last best example (Though laptops) before I was here they brought £300 HP laptops that lasted less that 2.5 years! brought some at £400 and they will definitely last 4-5 years easy. Its all about making the right choice as I thought about the purchase for many months.
    Bad example though as laptops are a whole different kettle of fish from standard PCs, Personally though, apart from a batch of celeron (eurgh) laptops that were bought 4 years ago any other laptops we've purchased in my time in this job has never not lasted the 4-5 years we want from them......that all comes down to the member of staff whos laptop it is.

    Trying to get rid of staff laptops altogether, but it's proving difficult, luckily the head is semi behind us on it though

    EDIT: only got one classroom of laptops (in two trolleys that go between the science labs) and those are now 5 years old and falling apart, those were HP Celerons but they managed to last in the hands of students! crap laptops though.
    Last edited by mrbios; 1st June 2011 at 11:56 PM.

  6. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbios View Post
    Bad example though as laptops are a whole different kettle of fish from standard PCs, Personally though, apart from a batch of celeron (eurgh) laptops that were bought 4 years ago any other laptops we've purchased in my time in this job has never not lasted the 4-5 years we want from them......that all comes down to the member of staff whos laptop it is.

    Trying to get rid of staff laptops altogether, but it's proving difficult, luckily the head is semi behind us on it though
    Sadly thats never going to happen because of the 'laptops4teachers' scheme it is now 'impossible to teach' without them, yay government schemes!

  7. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by irsprint84 View Post
    Sadly thats never going to happen because of the 'laptops4teachers' scheme it is now 'impossible to teach' without them, yay government schemes!
    Ah yes that scheme We have managed to rid ourselves of it, but as soon as any sniff of money comes in for IT its ooooh we could get Laptops for Teachers again, and I go that's fine BUT who's paying for the replacement battery's after 2 years, to re-new the laptops after 3 years, all the broken screens from "it just cracked" moments etc... Then it usually goes quiet again as we cannot fund the laptops and IT rooms with our budgets, and most staff never use Laptops in school as we don't have a wifi at present and all rooms have a fixed PC so no need for them for teaching either, so no justification for having them other than they want to waste school funds on toys, next they will be wanting company cars as they are using there own cars to drive to and from work to home!

    Anyway, back to Desktops.... I am using more and more refurbished PCs from John @ict-direct simply due to the great value of them and the support from John, I did purchase some i3 machines last year for our Dedicated Media Rooms and the year before high end Core2 machines for the small pilot media room, other than that I'm looking more and more at Refurbished PCs simply as a new PC with 3 year warranty is £450+ (from the big names), but I can get a refurb one with a high end spec for half that price and its got enough ram and CPU power for a good 3 years life within the school, so if it does us 3 years for £200 or so, yet we only get 5 years (on paper) on a £450+ New PC what is the point of getting them as we get better value from the refurb PCs.

    I've nothing against building your own, however home brew machines in our place have no respect and no confidence in them as they simply didn't cut the mustard for our needs so we need a period of showing look this kit works and people respect brand names, its a disgrace that its that way but the rooms with big name kit in are looked after better by staff and students than the home-brew / generic PCs.

    I do like the idea of open PC being panels etc that is a good idea however so something work thinking about for when I next get funding to completely re-design an IT room from scratch.
    Last edited by john; 2nd June 2011 at 12:11 AM.

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  9. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by irsprint84 View Post
    Kinda of the same but I get machines that I know will last best example (Though laptops) before I was here they brought £300 HP laptops that lasted less that 2.5 years! brought some at £400 and they will definitely last 4-5 years easy. Its all about making the right choice as I thought about the purchase for many months.
    £400 laptop lasting 4-5 years?! I spend around £500 - £700 per laptop here, and we get 4 years out of them if we're lucky. Anything cheaper than that and its got no chance! Also, people saying they have celerons that have lasted 4 years or more??? We've got core 2 duos which are far too slow now, so celeron that is still going must be increasing staff stress no-end, and reducing staff confidence in the IT provision.

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  11. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    £400 laptop lasting 4-5 years?! I spend around £500 - £700 per laptop here, and we get 4 years out of them if we're lucky. Anything cheaper than that and its got no chance! Also, people saying they have celerons that have lasted 4 years or more??? We've got core 2 duos which are far too slow now, so celeron that is still going must be increasing staff stress no-end, and reducing staff confidence in the IT provision.
    There is no such thing as a core2duo that is too slow for a school. Our learning support department has E2180s and 2GB ram, running windows 7 pro and imaged with all the software they require, they'll easily last another 2 years.

    Too slow for a certain requirement i'd allow, but you can't expect me to believe that your entire school uses cpu intensive software?

    We have Pentium 4 Ds which still hold there own on windows 7!

    Do you have a scheduled weekly disk defrag on your PCs? scripts running to clean up the junk folders? etc etc, it's more likely that they're being filled with crap rather than the hardware not coping.

    Quote Originally Posted by john View Post
    I've nothing against building your own, however home brew machines in our place have no respect and no confidence in them as they simply didn't cut the mustard for our needs so we need a period of showing look this kit works and people respect brand names, its a disgrace that its that way but the rooms with big name kit in are looked after better by staff and students than the home-brew / generic PCs.
    What's the reason for the lack of respect or confidence in them? only about 4 members of staff here would even recognise the company name on the brand logo!

    Buy all retail processors, 3 year warrentys per processor and you get an intel sticker with it....perfect, it's now branded as intel
    Last edited by mrbios; 2nd June 2011 at 12:57 AM.

  12. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbios View Post
    What's the reason for the lack of respect or confidence in them? only about 4 members of staff here would even recognise the company name on the brand logo!

    Buy all retail processors, 3 year warrentys per processor and you get an intel sticker with it....perfect, it's now branded as intel
    The kids and staff both have this love of brand names, bit like clothes really they all want Jack Wills tops (other tops available) the same goes for PCs they just don't respect kit unless its got HP slapped on it, plus the home brew kit we've had hasn't been that fit for purpose in recent times the SLT expect it to last forever yet the kit wasn't that reliable or powerful thus isn't lasting. As for stickers, thats one thing that doesn't last whatever make it is lol

  13. #56

    SYNACK's Avatar
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    @mrbios - we do buy i5s but as a primary school we buy stuff to last for ages and still be usable without a pile of compromises two thirds of the way through their actual lifespan. When you brought your Pentium Ds were they three revisions back too. As a comparison we still have 7 year old machines that can run Windows 7 reliably.

    Your method of construction does interest me though and if we had ay large computer labs appointed like that (with space) I would totally look at something like this but would probably irritate you in my CPU choices. How does stuff like full screen encoding work on those CPUs for tutorial videos and the like as we had some i3s that choked on that. We also look at the power consumption figures for our gear closely to try and reduce the ammount of heat it puts out and by extention sound. The latest CPUs are just so efficient in comparison being able to use the same idle poser as an Atom chip but still spin up to decent levels of performance and with the right setup can even go passive cooling when idle under stock heat sinks.

    As you say it is different per school but in our particular case we buy stuff to really last with good driver support so that even five or more years down the line they can still support the latest OS without having to rebuy what was otherwise a perfectly good machine.

    What is your refersh cycle like on those builds out of interest, 3 years?
    Last edited by SYNACK; 2nd June 2011 at 07:13 AM.

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    @mrbios where do you get your G620T motherboard bundle from, care to share the link?

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    mrbios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    @mrbios - we do buy i5s but as a primary school we buy stuff to last for ages and still be usable without a pile of compromises two thirds of the way through their actual lifespan. When you brought your Pentium Ds were they three revisions back too. As a comparison we still have 7 year old machines that can run Windows 7 reliably.

    Your method of construction does interest me though and if we had ay large computer labs appointed like that (with space) I would totally look at something like this but would probably irritate you in my CPU choices. How does stuff like full screen encoding work on those CPUs for tutorial videos and the like as we had some i3s that choked on that. We also look at the power consumption figures for our gear closely to try and reduce the ammount of heat it puts out and by extention sound. The latest CPUs are just so efficient in comparison being able to use the same idle poser as an Atom chip but still spin up to decent levels of performance and with the right setup can even go passive cooling when idle under stock heat sinks.

    As you say it is different per school but in our particular case we buy stuff to really last with good driver support so that even five or more years down the line they can still support the latest OS without having to rebuy what was otherwise a perfectly good machine.

    What is your refersh cycle like on those builds out of interest, 3 years?
    5 Years refresh cycle.

    The pentium Ds were actually a wrong choice when they were purchased and certainly not my choice! at the time of purchase the E2xxx range were cooler, used less power, the same price, and about twice/three times as fast, that was my managers fault though, had we bought the E2xxx chips they'd have likely lasted 5 years easily. That said they have lasted nearly 4 years, and the only reason they aren't lasting longer is due to a dodgy batch of foxconn motherboards where the electrolyte capacitors have started leaking (a problem which shouldn't happen again as they all use solid capacitors these days, also a problem that was likely to occour in prebuilt PCs - foxconn admitted the problem and sent us 50 new motherboards, again my managers fault for buying foxconn crap).

    Good driver support is something i ensure when i buy, it's a prime reason i don't use AMD kit, as much as i like AMDs processors and prices the motherboards are poo

    Infact one thing i notice is that the hard drive seems to cause more problems than the rest of the PC in the long haul, hopefully the 40GB SSDs should fix that Also most parts these days, so long as you buy retail and not oem, comes with warrantys from 1-5 years. We have a field on our asset register where we log the purchase date, order number and products on that order along with their warranty start and end date, that way when parts die we have an easy referral point.

    I'd like to make it clear though that i'm not saying that i think what anyone else is doing is wrong, just that i get the impression that in some schools around the country money is needlessly wasted, though i can't say that for certain without knowing a ton of other things to do with that school, i'm more questioning peoples practices rather than accusing, as i know i can come off as a bit of a **** on this subject which i feel quite strongly about

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve_T View Post
    @mrbios where do you get your G620T motherboard bundle from, care to share the link?
    Will get that for you now, the prices on the links will be slightly different as we were given a few special prices

    Memory: http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/p...g1333lv2g.html
    Motherboard: http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/p...-g0eay0dz.html
    Processor: not currently on novatechs site, but a price we were given through a quote: £51.50 unit cost
    SSD: Again not currently on novatechs site, but price given through quote: £63.90 unit cost

    Quote works out about £225 per PC including the PSU, i'm hoping the SSD price might drop a bit before we order though as about a month ago it was £59 per unit.

    So All in that's an Intel G620T 35w processor, Asus mini ITX motherboard, 4GB OCZ Memory, 40GB Intel 320 SSD, Corsair CX430W PSU.

    Could make the build cheaper by getting £12 power supplies but i've lost kit due to shoddy cheap power supplies in the past so im not going to bother this time. I fully expect those PCs to last us 5 years as well, if you wanted to up the cost by £10 you could put a G850 in there which would be a lot faster (the G620T is 2.2ghz, the G850 is 2.9ghz) but obviously you lose the lower power/heat addition then.
    Last edited by mrbios; 2nd June 2011 at 08:17 AM.

  16. #59
    mrbios's Avatar
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    oh i should also add that we're getting a G620T bundle (once they're available) and a G850 processor to fully test the setup prior to purchase, so i'll let you know how that goes

    I'll be testing using Adobe CS5, Visual basic 2010, windows movie maker....i might even test adobe premiere elements and see how they fare on that, though i can't see that being fantastic

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbios View Post
    There is no such thing as a core2duo that is too slow for a school. Our learning support department has E2180s and 2GB ram, running windows 7 pro and imaged with all the software they require, they'll easily last another 2 years.

    Too slow for a certain requirement i'd allow, but you can't expect me to believe that your entire school uses cpu intensive software?

    We have Pentium 4 Ds which still hold there own on windows 7!

    Do you have a scheduled weekly disk defrag on your PCs? scripts running to clean up the junk folders? etc etc, it's more likely that they're being filled with crap rather than the hardware not coping.
    All machines get used by everyone basically. We're a middle school, so there's no such thing as departmental pc's really. (We have about 25 of those across the entire school). We have some thin clients but people complain that they can't do everything that the fat clients can. And the fat clients get used to run all sorts, ranging from basic web browsing to animation software, video editing, photoshop etc... So, there definitely is such a thing as a core2duo which is too slow!

    All machines get re-imaged termly, profdel set on them etc... so they're as speedy as they can be.

    Celeron's just can't and don't cut the mustard.

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