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Hardware Thread, Cases for school computers in Technical; ...
  1. #16

    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    Can't imagine they'd be very cheap though? Don't need to be childproof, just smallish and tough. The RM's seem to fit the bill so for £30 we're going to be grabbing those.

    Won't be buying Mac cases though, @mac_shinobi - too big I like them, though! (although slightly went off them when an old G5 PPC was being back and forth to me to flash graphics cards for - lost weight that week!)
    Good to see it kept you busy and gave you plenty of exercise

  2. #17

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    I would be amazed if your TCO in building a computer was cheaper than sourcing one from elsewhere - never mind the fact that you've must have spare time on your hands to do it.

    IMHO we should be adding value to the schools IT support needs - not draining it!

    Good luck in getting away with your lovely activity but if your manager ever gets a clue.....

    Si

    PS And just to add insult to injury- whats with the SSD need?

  3. #18

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Post not meant to actually offend - just interested in a 30 min argument over DIY/purchasing
    Si

  4. #19

    glennda's Avatar
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    SSD's are a must in this day n age Simon - although not sure if the performance of Win 98 is much improved if using them

  5. #20

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    SSD's are a must in this day n age Simon
    Shirley not!

    And Win98 doesn't need them - I create a RAM disk and run it from there

    Si

  6. #21

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    But speaking of cases, a friend of mine (Normal user - not a geek) got a local computer shop to "refurbish" his old (circa 1995) computer - they stuck a new motherboard/cpu/ram/psu, replaced the CD drive with DVD R/W and stick a multi-card reader in the floppy slot and supplied a new >22in monitor to go with it.

    They did a good job- don't know whats inside but its the quickest internet/office machine I've worked on! (Helps that he got a large mbs Virgin connection as well )
    Si

  7. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by glennda View Post
    Stones cases are quite nice - perhaps they will sell you some unbranded ones?
    I was going to suggest this same thing. The external drive bay panels are reinforced on the inside so the plastic bits cannot be pushed in.

  8. #23

    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Yes, we do indeed like them Will look at sourcing chenbro kit today but I think it's unlikely we'll get anywhere near the quality and price of the RM boxes (Yes, that was just said!)

    Time isn't an issue for us - roughly speaking, buying in the parts and doing it ourselves including a proper windows licence, £270 per unit. Same spec from just about anywhere is £310-330. Not a huge amount.
    But we need 70. That's another £2800. That's another 10 computers. Building them isn't an issue; my NM is quite happy that we could do 3 an hour each and he's probably unaware that I've refurbished kit in the past at a rate of around 60 a day (full rebuilds). Besides the point though - at 3 an hour, it's not a taxing task, it's a welcome break from the difficulties we've had this year. Yes it takes our time but time is something we've already budgeted for. It's not our budget.
    We've already saved £4000 by building our own servers. That takes no time either and means we got exactly what we want. Yes there's "more time" down the line if something goes wrong, but think of it like an insurance policy. Nothing may go wrong, and we're clearly in the win. One or two machines may fail - we may have to spend half an hour diagnosing the fault, then replacing it out. Half an hour isn't a lot, and with the relevant warranties and even keeping a few spares behind, we're still not losing anything on cost or inconvenience and will serve better than a "It's broken, back to OEM it goes for warranty" leaving someone without for a while. Sure you could have a spare but that's just additional cost then.

    Re SSDs: There's no "need". WHen the cost was £1 a GB we did not hesitate in speccing them as part of the build. It makes a hell of a difference. Now they're 50p (and under in some cases) per GB, we're silly not to. It's not just the speed - some classrooms do have "boisterous" kids and machines do get knocked over as a result. We've lost a few HDD's that way so this will just add a little extra robustness. Less noise is also good.

  9. Thanks to synaesthesia from:

    cpjitservices (25th May 2012)

  10. #24
    Chris_'s Avatar
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    Just FYI the RM cases are Chenbro also.

    Case: Chenbro Micom Co., Ltd.
    Bezel: Chenbro Micom Co., Ltd.

  11. Thanks to Chris_ from:

    synaesthesia (25th May 2012)

  12. #25

    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Interesting, thought they were Antec. That's good to know

  13. #26

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    It's not our budget.
    My point
    If/when the budget holder gets a handle on this ...

    And I don't think your turnover rate would bear an auditors scrutiny (Build 3 computers an hour??? - OK if sitting in darkend room doing nothing else but surely you have a day job as well? )

    What I'm saying is that unless your a wage slave working for the RM/Redstone/Private firm etc Collective, we all need to be adding value to our schools and building computers cannot be cost effective when there are children in 3rd world countries being paid slave wages to do IT assembly work (On second thoughts, may be it is a good idea to do it ourselves!)

    And SSDs - your just being a geek - they are for speed freaks who have money to burn (and don't mind replacing them every 3 years!)

    Si

  14. #27

    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    That was a worse case scenario. Huge money saving. Budget holder is MASSIVELY for it. 3 PC's an our - I reckon I could do all 70 in half a day. And I'm not exaggurating.
    Nuff said really on the SSD - we've seen the difference it makes

    And yes, we are geeks


    (ps, I don't know if the above post was in jest or not but *please* don't start pulling on any "wasting money" strings - I don't have time for that sort of thing, especially when it's making a huge improvement and it's *cheaper* than decent size HDDs.)
    Last edited by synaesthesia; 25th May 2012 at 10:11 AM.

  15. #28


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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    What I'm saying is that unless your a wage slave working for the RM/Redstone/Private firm etc Collective, we all need to be adding value to our schools and building computers cannot be cost effective when there are children in 3rd world countries being paid slave wages to do IT assembly work (On second thoughts, may be it is a good idea to do it ourselves!)
    If they are saving £50 per PC and building 3 a day, that's £150pd, £750 per week or an oncost (salary + stuff) of £39,000 per annum. On-costs are typically 20-30% of salary so your tech would need to be earning over £27,300 a year for it to be not effective in terms of cost. The frequent complaints about IT technicians wages in schools might suggest that average salaries are running somewhat below that and building 3 PC's per day seems ... a little lazy to me.

  16. #29
    gshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    building 3 PC's per day seems ... a little lazy to me.
    I'd be disappointed if I hadn't got 3 done in an hour, let alone a day!

    One thing I would say though, buy the same kit that Stone etc would i.e. get the Intel OEM motherboards not some 3rd party consumer grade Asus-esque thing. Driver support and reliability needs to match whatever you'd be buying and the Intel Desktop Boards are solid

    When I considered self-builds (then discounted it as we don't have time now we do the VLE as well) we were looking at...

    - Intel Desktop Board
    - Core i3 2120 with stock cooler
    - 4GB RAM (so cheap at the moment you might as well have it)
    - 64GB Crucial M4 SSD
    - Lite On DVD-RW
    - case was an issue so didn't decide on one
    - Corsair standard PSU
    - Logitech basic keyboard \ mouse bundle
    - Windows 7 Home Premium OEM (upgrade to Enterprise via EES)

    The bit that will hit you is the Windows 7 licensing, though that said just found this on Scan...
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/micro...tem-single-oem

    Couldn't find it all from one supplier but added up to about £350, £50 saving over what I've been quoted for a similar machine without the SSD. Not quite enough saving there to make it worthwhile for us but the SSD bit still grates on me...
    Last edited by gshaw; 25th May 2012 at 10:56 AM.

  17. #30

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    There are good and bad things about building your own ... with some that have already been said.

    The argument about staff already being paid so it is effective use of their time ... the counter argument is that if they are sitting around with free time do you need that many staff?
    The argument about support ... the cost of building your own machines needs to have in there a given failure rate for parts. Then take into account the time taken to replace these, the risk of buying spare parts and not needing them, the risk of the staff with the specific knowledge on the design and build of these machines leaving (countered by having good documentation, of course). It is not just about physically assembly, but about sorting out difficult drivers, tweaking the build so it works right. With pre-built boxes you tend to find that this has already been hammered to death and it will work (YMMV of course depending on who your buy from and what you get). There is also a risk of spares not being available for the life of the machine, something which is often off-set by buying the machines in (from reputable suppliers with a given roadmap tied into warrantied support).

    Of course ... having a discussion like this is a moot point. We all know that the correct* route is not to build you own but to *bring your own* (see what I did there!)

    Back to being serious though ... if you can work through those bits then it can help auditors understand the VfM that *you* might get from it but might not work in other schools.


    *correct refers to the fact that it is a possible option but might not be the best one for your school, delivering the present or future curriculum and is subject to the variations created by the hype of BYOD without understanding the requirements for infrastructure change, models of support, models of pedagogy and a heap of other reasons why things like this fall at the first hurdle ... including the *shiny* factor which has enticed people to buy stuff without planning!



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