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Hardware Thread, Cases for school computers in Technical; The spares availability is a very good point, even with standard Intel OEM stuff it'll be hard to get motherboards ...
  1. #31
    gshaw's Avatar
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    The spares availability is a very good point, even with standard Intel OEM stuff it'll be hard to get motherboards etc 2 years down the line. I know Stone do their long-term warranty by keeping stocks of some of the older kit and their buy-back schemes which helps.

  2. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    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!)
    Seagate 250GB 3.5" SATA-III 6GB/s Barracuda Hard.. | Ebuyer.com - 41.65 ex VAT
    Crucial 64GB M4 SSD - CT064M4SSD2 | Ebuyer.com - 49.99 ex VAT

    You're only likely to use 50-60Gb of a drive anyway in a network environment, so the additional capacity of the HDD is pointless. The extra speed of the SSD, on the other hand, will be phenomenal. Not spending the extra 8 for that increase in performance would be criminal, frankly. An SSD makes more difference to application loading and multitasking than three generations of processor, and I can't think of anything that improves the subjective experience so dramatically and easily (to anyone, not just knowledgeable bods like us lot. If my Dad can tell the difference, then they're worth doing.)

    Regarding the cost of building yourself... I always worked on a one-PC-per-techie-per-hour cost, and last time I bought a chunk of PCs it was cheaper to buy them than to build them. It was a much bigger purchase than 45 though, so it's the kind of cost that needs to be accounted for each time. I don't mind us being responsible for repairs - frankly, I'd rather we do it ourselves as it's often quicker than waiting for an engineer, and our warranty with Novatech works beautifully for us (on site replacements free and parts sent next day to repair the original). I'd say the main benefit on getting them pre-built is the ease of dealign with warrantied parts; I don't have to deal with 5 different manufacturers with varying levels of service, I can just ring my account manager and get it sorted next day. That's worth a fair chunk of my time over a 5 year period.
    Last edited by sonofsanta; 25th May 2012 at 10:33 AM.

  3. #33

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    so the additional capacity of the HDD is pointless.
    You make a fair point there.

    But your not leaving much room future proofing

    The machine next to me in this school was bought with a 60GB drive and is using 37GB. You can't rely on programmers producing small code

    Lets agree its maybe on a tipping point

    (I was thinking of getting one to boot my home from to see what the real world speed diff was like but I have way too much software installed on it!)

    And remember, its much easier to get your scanning electron microscope out for data recovery on a hard drive than a piece of hard sand
    Si

  4. #34

    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    You make a fair point there.

    But your not leaving much room future proofing

    The machine next to me in this school was bought with a 60GB drive and is using 37GB. You can't rely on programmers producing small code

    Lets agree its maybe on a tipping point

    (I was thinking of getting one to boot my home from to see what the real world speed diff was like but I have way too much software installed on it!)

    And remember, its much easier to get your scanning electron microscope out for data recovery on a hard drive than a piece of hard sand
    Si
    To be fair, I'm hoping to get 120/8gb drives this summer, and they're down at 66 ex VAT now (Crucial m4 128gb) but I just picked the cheapest HDD and the cheapest known reliable SSD for comparison's sake.

    It's certainly at the tipping point, and I think that point is going to show itself over the next month - they've already come down a long way in the last month (inc VAT, that drive was 120ish a couple of months ago, 90 last week, and 80 now) and with Sandisk releasing their new drives at an aggressive price point, they may well come down even more yet.

    Once I've bought some new machines this year to replace old P4 era machines, I'm just going to upgrade the Core2 Duo machiens with SSDs next year, and they should feel like new. Try one, they really are astonishing

  5. #35

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    Inwin might be worth a look as well had a room with this cases many years ago and was impressed

  6. #36


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    Quote Originally Posted by mac_shinobi View Post
    You could always buy used 2008 / 2009 / 2010 Mac Pro cases off of fleabay
    How would you fit a standard ATX/mATX/mini-ITX motherboard + PSU inside without drilling additional holes?

    The BitFenix Prodigy might be a good alternative to a Mac Pro if it wasn't so big.

    Last edited by Arthur; 25th May 2012 at 12:20 PM.

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    As said, the 3 per hour (per tech) was being VERY slow. Entirely moot! Noone is sitting around spare, but at the time we're doing these, we will be. Too many technicians? No. 2.5 of us. That's half of what most schools our size have. Plus, the time is allocated and is NOT a problem. Give me some credit!

    Intel mainboards and CPU's, nothing to worry about there. That sorts drivers out too
    Windows licenses are easy - we've already got those (Cheap to buy a base license on top of which EES is legal). Quite a bit less than that cost from SCAN, I hasten to add.

    Not much point going on much further with this thread - was just after cases, and RM are by far the best bet. So we're going for them. The rest has already long been decided, the discussion about time/cost etc has long departed with a very obvious outcome.

    Thanks for the input though, much appreciated.
    Last edited by synaesthesia; 25th May 2012 at 12:43 PM.

  8. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    Can't imagine they'd be very cheap though?
    Fabricating your own cases would be interesting to have a look at, though. What you need is a design for a small, robust case that can be cut from a single sheet of aluminium or mild steel, then you can get it CNC milled or laser cut and the parts posted to you. You'd probably also need a press brake to bend 90-degree angles into the metal. I was pondering having a go to make a case for the Raspberry Pi. It might make an interesting open source / open design resource - a free-to-use case design that can be ordered from any CNC / laser cutting shop and put together with commonly available hand tools.

  9. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    As said, the 3 per hour (per tech) was being VERY slow. Entirely moot! Noone is sitting around spare, but at the time we're doing these, we will be. Too many technicians? No. 2.5 of us. That's half of what most schools our size have. Plus, the time is allocated and is NOT a problem. Give me some credit!

    Intel mainboards and CPU's, nothing to worry about there. That sorts drivers out too
    Windows licenses are easy - we've already got those (Cheap to buy a base license on top of which EES is legal). Quite a bit less than that cost from SCAN, I hasten to add.

    Not much point going on much further with this thread - was just after cases, and RM are by far the best bet. So we're going for them. The rest has already long been decided, the discussion about time/cost etc has long departed with a very obvious outcome.

    Thanks for the input though, much appreciated.
    Just out of interest, what is the cheapest base licence for windows you've found? We also quite often build machines ourselves and have an EES agreement.

    Thanks

    steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    It might make an interesting open source / open design resource - a free-to-use case design that can be ordered from any CNC / laser cutting shop and put together with commonly available hand tools.
    there is a PDF avaliable for a paper/card case that might be translatable (then again i might be wrong lol)

    as to building your own i can see the point about it being a non optimal use of time possibly but if you like me really enjoy building pcs (and iirc the last one i built was mine 5- years ago) it is possibly worth it as a "morale booster" and at least unlike a lot of it jobs its a job with a beginning a middle and a defined end which is always a bonus

  11. Thanks to sted from:

    dhicks (25th May 2012)

  12. #41

    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    @steveg : was 56 in the end. Was a bit less to start with but apparently exchange rates have hit the cost. (Had to confirm that with the boss, thought it was less!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    @steveg : was 56 in the end. Was a bit less to start with but apparently exchange rates have hit the cost. (Had to confirm that with the boss, thought it was less!)
    Thanks for that, that's pretty much what we pay. Was just hoping you'd found some secret source of cheap ms licences :-)

  14. #43

    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    I seem to remember we had them budgeted at 53 but the exchange rate thing bumped it up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Fabricating your own cases would be interesting to have a look at, though. What you need is a design for a small, robust case that can be cut from a single sheet of aluminium or mild steel, then you can get it CNC milled or laser cut and the parts posted to you. You'd probably also need a press brake to bend 90-degree angles into the metal.
    I got some quotes a couple of years ago for laser cutting parts for a small novelty egg timer. Best I could get was 50 a sheet - and that was plywood about 400mm*300 (I do have a CNC machine in the workshop but at the time it was a very slow one and anyway laser would be better for small gears in bulk).
    I was pondering having a go to make a case for the Raspberry Pi. It might make an interesting open source / open design resource - a free-to-use case design that can be ordered from any CNC / laser cutting shop and put together with commonly available hand tools.
    There's a few on Thingverse already but go for it! I'll even offer to print or cut it for you.

  16. Thanks to pcstru from:

    dhicks (25th May 2012)

  17. #45

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    Noone is sitting around spare, but at the time we're doing these, we will be.
    You say your 2.5 - why not be 2 and save the 0.5 and stop playing building computers

    My point is that its entirely unlikely that your total cost for building vs buying is cheaper - now it might be better but almost certainly not cheaper

    Si

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