Gongalong (5th April 2012)
we have the small form factor black cases with the stone logo moulded into the case so they can't be peeled off! and the older standard desktop cases (which look a bit like RM G series) which have the logo on a raised sticker (the main vulnerability), the fit of the front panels seems better than on most cases and able to withstand levering with a teaspoon and being pushed in (as long as the metal blank behind the plastic blank is still in place) USB are still vulnerable, but we treat these as a consumable!
Take a look at Viglen machines - the Genie Pro ones are tough as nails in my experience. If you want a tougher one, look at the Omninos - all in one, with cable clamps to lock then in place. When we upgrade here, that's what I'll be looking at.
We have been using Stone PC's for the last 3 years and have had very little damage done to them. When comparing them to the other rooms of HP's & NEC's these are in great condition even after 3 years.
Would be a bit of a dramatic change but have you looked at using Thin Clients with VDI/RDS - the thin clients can take more of a beating that any PC out there as all the expensive bits sit safely in your server room
Thanks all for the responses (and PMs) so far. I'll have a look in more detail next week.
Using SSDs sounds interesting - not something I'd thought of, and hard drives often seem to be the biggest bottleneck on the PC.
I think I mentioned some of this already, but damage to PCs has been drive bays pushed in, along with breaking front ports e.g. SD, USB, along with busted CD-ROMs. Hence the ideal case would just have the minimum amount on the front (no drive bays, no CD-ROM, no ports etc.), so the kids would ignore it. I don't know whether that's going to be possible in a standard case, or whether it will require something more exotic.
Windows license-wise we have an Open Value education license, or something along those lines. I wasn't aware it was upgrade only, which is a pain financially (and we've already bought a handful of laptops without an OS :-/). It seems an odd bit of "small print" bearing in mind we also have things like Office, and other applications which presumably don't require the upgrade.
Thin client isn't an option because most if not all of these PCs will be used with graphics intensive software.
Windows os license is upgrade only - office etc isn't
It is annoying though
The second VeryPC, @Millgate posted a photo of looks like the best so far in terms of design. Do they still produce them since they aren't listed on the VeryPC website?
We provide custom build Very Pcs do I'm sure we can sort it out
This past financial year we have been replacing our desktop PCs with reconditioned HP machings from @ict-direct. We pay around £175 for a box which usually comes with 3 or 4Gb of RAM. A new keyboard and mouse is supplied. We don't need monitors most of the time as the ones we have are fine and 19".
It has saved us a fortune. £10k bought us 50 new boxes this year and we rekitted out two ICT suites. We have also kitted out the library and our SuccessMaker room. I've just ordered another 27 for use in our DT department.
We pay an extra £10 per machine for a platinum warranty. That gives us 3 years.
We will never by brand new again and at £175 per machine if a kid breaks one then it's cheaper to replace.
The machines built onto our network using MDT without any issues.
Each to their own but with budgets slashed this is the way forward for us.
Great thread, thanks, some very useful ideas.
We are an EDB (Emotionally Disturbed Boys) school with a maximum class size of 8. Our computer breakage seem very much down to the supervision. We have one teacher who is rarely away and does a fantastic job supervising the lads and the kit in her classroom reflects this, on the other hand!!
Talk to VeryPC or CPL or Millgate, their cases are the best, and we and others I know understood the price premium. Their key differentiation between other system builders is in embedded sustainability; ie they aim to make kit that has as little impact on the environment in manufacture, use and disposal. For us in education I feel responsible for providing staff and students with a safe learning environment and ensuring we buy stuff that isn't smashing the planet up. They were £25 a unit more expensive than Stone on 150 desktop PCs but they saved us £14+/- a year per PC in electricity so over the 5 year warranty period (support is flipping excellent by the way from VeryPC) the TCO is lower than Stone. We're lucky in that our school business manager likes to consider the whole life cycle value of the product not just tell us to buy whatever is cheapest. From what I could tell when I was going through the buying process and marketing spiel for the BroadLeaf, the case was designed to be used in education and was thus made with education in mind, ie; built to last. Even the power button is tamper proof and with our school logo on them the kids have a sense of pride using them. Because they cost a bit more in year one the school thought it wise to build a lesson plan around sustainability and used the BroadLeafs as an example of environmentally efficient product so the message got out to parents and the local community too; how many school IT Managers can say that a product they bought has lead to improving the lives and knowledge of their students.? Apples and Oranges though guys, but I'd have no hesitation in recommending VeryPC to you even if you weren't looking for the durability. Also and this made my Head Master smile..... VeryPC are so confident in their build quality that when we come to refresh the PCs (4 years for us), they will take the BroadLeaf back, upcycle it by renewing the spec to one we will need in the future and return the PC to us all shiny rewarranted for another 5 years, thus saving us the cost of the original premium as most of the cost is in the reduction of hazardous stuff and in the manufacture of the enviro friendly case! Winner.
Interesting. There is a slight premium over others from the price we've had but it's far less than I had expected. Certainly pitchable to the schools involved!
Downside of the broadleaf PCs is that they are huge, Almost as big as the old full size PCs we had years ago.
Just got one on trial here and it's much bigger than our old Dell GX620/740s (Small form factor, not ultra small form factor)
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