You know sometimes i forget that I have access to this site. Nothing to do with the site, more with the 300 other things whizzing around here atm. Between Work, DJ'ing, eating & sleeping... I forget things. But anyway, to the subject at hand. We put out to tend over the past month or so, and now have all our bids on the table. We are left with the following four choices. All are for the same spec:
Intel Core2Duo 2.13Ghz (E6400)
1GB DDR2 533Mhz
CD/DVD RW Combo
Small form factor
Stone were very keen. They sent out a Sample PC at that Spec thats been kicking around the office and has stood up well. Sinktested well, nice solid case. Was quite happy with it, although I have read a few odd reports here. Untested for us, but they've been very helpful and quick to respond. Of course there's a fair chunk of money involved in this (160 PCs for now).
RM... Had dealings with before. Kinda Indifferent on them.
Dell... We've bought Dell Laptops and Servers before, but not their desktops in any real quantity.
Lenovo... Now here's the wildcard. Whilst all the other quotes are relatively the same price (with RM being the most expensive, and Dell/Stone within a few quid of each other), Lenovo is a lot cheaper. But I really know nothing about them, and can only find any reliable reviews of their notebooks and one review of a small headless desktop unit from the middle of last year. The Spec is the same, but this is a 3rd party company acting as a reseller.
The entire thing is due to go before The Powers that Be shortly, and our selection right now is Stone. Based on seeing their machine and recommendations from other colleges in the area. However they will want to know why we havn't gone for the much cheaper Lenovo. At the moment the simple answer is 'We know bugger all about them and can't find any desktop/small form factor reviews', plus we're not overly fond of dealing with resellers... bad prior experience and whatnot.
Help me EduGeek, you're my only hope?
well, not true, as the pub is looking mighty tempting right now, but i think i need to remain sober the rest of the day.
Not too much help from me I'm afraid, but Lenovo do have something to do with IBM you know. Not sure if it is a company belonging to to them or not, but I would be comfortable dealing with them We have some of their (IBM) servers, though we haven't had need to test their support (surely a good thing!)
I was a massive fan of IBM machines and have used them alot - I have also had a half-dozen Lenovo machines this year to test the water...
My thoughts are that the IBMs were bullet-proof, fantastic build quality and reliability - the best in my experience... The Lenovo's are acceptable but not up to the IBM build quality... you might want to delve into the IBM site because there were certain obligations that Lenovo had to live up to under the contract for taking over the desktop/laptop part of the business as far as I can remember...
Bottom line is that whilst not up to the previous standards of IBM, I'd expect that Lenovo desktops would probably be as good as the others you are looking at... it probably comes down to how big the price difference is...
I wouldn't give you 2p for an RM box well maybe 2p :-)
The Lenovo stuff I have seen seems quite good and as they are a Tier 1 manufacturer you should be able to get a little resale value at the end of thier life if your kids arnt complete animals. Dell the same but would be my preference and their All In One machines really do limit the kids capacity to play silly buggers.
Stone I dont know that much about I have a Stone server here which i inherited. Build quality is ok but nowhere near as good as the Dell Servers i have.
I would keep an eye out to see if the kit is the BX standard for power usage as that should save the school a few quid on the electric bill.
Original description: AMD Sempron 3200, 512MB, 80GB 7200RPM S-ATA HDD, no diskette drive, PCI/PCIe Desktop (4x3), NVIDIA GeForce 6100, 16x DVD-ROM, Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet, Windows XP Professional. This product has a three year limited warranty and is entitled to mail-in or carry-in repair service.
Bought mostly due to price.
So far so good. No problems with them so far but its only been a month. If they live out the 3 year warranty then burst in to flames its not the end of the world @£190.
We have had Stone and like them. Their desktop support is good and the failing on laptop support is partly down to the product (Samsung ... not keen anymore).
However, we now use Dell. Cheap, good specs, good delivery times and I would say good support but we have only had to use it a few times (over 250+ Dell Desktops) over the last 3 years ... their laptop support is cracking though.
Dell - attrocsious customer support, want to know what colour your socks are before theyll even do anything. Wont send out multiple parts to fix a fault, so you can end up having to call out the engineer several times even if you tell them one part wont fix it! Can be extreamly badly built/designed. Had some PSUs replaced several times under warrenty. Also had a batch of monitors which were badly designed and developed the same fault - had alot of them replaced twice.
Stone - brilliant customer support, best ive ever delt with. Engineers carry all common parts so if the initial diagnosis is incorrect he simply pops out to his van and get another part. Do good offers for loyalty. Fans are extreamly noisy, and no web based driver support. A few batches of ours have came with flaky bios and/or hardware - one batchof 100pcs had to all have a bios upgrade in order to work with the keyboards they came with - do stone not check for compatibility BEFORE they start selling them?
RM - err no. I like control of my network.
Lenovo - not had a great deal of experiance but ive liked what ive seen.
Just before Xmas we did a tender for roughly 140 machines from Stone and I'm very impressed. They delivered in stages for me, all I had to do is ring up and say can I have the next batch on this date and about this time and it turned up as requested. Friendly and knowledgeable staff. Also part of the tender was almost 60 Samsung laptops. One of them developed a fault on one stick of ram, rang up and somebody was out by mid-day the next day onsite to fix the laptop - can't say better than that!!
we use stone, let me give you an example of their customer support, if you buy the laptops off them, say you report a fault, they come with three year next business day. They will come out with a spare laptop, if they cannot fix your laptop they will swop the drive so that the you are not without a laptop! (great for teachers who need their laptop 24/7)
I also like thier build quality, very durable. We have many workstations from them and servers.
They are good also for sending out sample pc's/ laptops for you to test. When we were kitting out an ICT room they sent us 2 different builds. We bought 30 of the kits.
We bought our admin server from them in may 2004, since then twice the sony AIT drive has gone, both times it has been replaced thanks to the 3 year warranty, saving us £1200+
we reply on customer service and quality builds and thats what they provide, together at the right price