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How do you do....it? Thread, Upgrading on a shoestring budget - the refurbished route..? in Technical; ...
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    dgsmith's Avatar
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    Upgrading on a shoestring budget - the refurbished route..?

    Up until 18-24 months ago, the term "refurbished" wasn't one that was thrown around too much in our school (in fact, I don't really think i'd ever used it when referring to hardware procurement). Now though, we're buying desktops and monitors with this classification and I anticipate this trend ongoing for the foreseeable.

    I'm curious as to how other schools are managing with budgets that could barely buy a packet of crisps (ok, slight exaggeration, but you catch my drift). Recently for us, it's been some HP DC7900s from John @ ICT-Direct and some HP DC7800s from SCHTrade (affiliated with SCC). Monitors are pretty much all coming from ebay these days! Are there any schools that are still able to source hardware at the same price-point as they did 2 years ago or has the axe come down pretty much everywhere now?

    What's quite laughable is that we'd easily spend £550 per student laptop about 2 years ago, but now we're struggling to find approval for netbooks with 2yr warranty extension and 2GB ram for literally half the price!

    Refurbished all the way? Some refurbished? Starting to consider it? I'm curious..

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    ticker's Avatar
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    We updated two ICT suites with new PCs but in one suite didn't replace the monitors as they were still ok. We created a ICT suite for the business studies dept using refurbished PC from ICT direct and I believe that next year we will probably again do a mix of the two as school budgets and in particular the ICT budget gets squeezed and we are asked to do the same but with less money.

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    Our budget was frozen not cut so this summer we were able to buy our base units (170 of them) brand new, but because of the rise in prices we had to make do without replacing monitors. I've tried to keep the PCs at a reasonable, spec (but certainly not top of the range) because they have to last us at least 4 years.

    All this may change though come next April. Especially as we added over 50 to our network this summer and they want another 60 next summer and there is no sign of an increase in budgets.

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    I needed some extra PCs over the summer and the only way to afford them was to buy off eBay. I also sourced a lot of other spares from there including brand new power supplies for our old HP laptops as they were half the price of anywhere else.

    There was a possibility that one of the faculties was going to have a new computer suite but I told them the only possible way with the budget they had was to buy refurbished.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Thankfully there are other areas of our budget that can (and probably will) be hit before the base units.

    - Interactive Whiteboards probably won't ever get replaced
    - The old Open Office/MS Office debate is reopening, probably won't upgrade beyond MS Office 2003
    - Teachers laptops vs. Teachers desktops?
    - We are looking at TFT's, now that 17" is pretty much the smallest - do they need replacing?

    If it comes down to it though and after all of the above we still need to make savings on desktops then at the moment I'm sticking with multiseat solutions like Windows Multipoint Server.

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    Just upgraded our oldest ICT suite with 2Gb Ram as they are coming to the end of their 5 year warranty next summer, this should allow us to migrate this coming February to windows 7 clients and then last another year after the warranty runs out before we need to replace them. As for anything else my primary concern will be the IWB projectors as I have only managed to replace 3 this year instead of 5 each year.

    As long as we can see ourselves through this next 2 years I feel we can start looking up then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    We are looking at TFT's, now that 17" is pretty much the smallest - do they need replacing?
    You can get decent deals on 15" monitors in bulk from firms that specialise in taking away other people's old computers - 15" is quite a good size for a school, less for the children to hide behind.

    One potential option to reduce costs is to buy new equipment direct from the factory in China, import the stuff yourself.

    --
    David Hicks

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    I have to say, the prices of the refurbished desktops on ICT Direct are pretty good. I just need to persuade the powers that be that we should buy some refurbished desktops ans they're better and cheaper than new ones they are buying!

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    I haven't needed to do any yet, but you can get a new motherboard, processor and RAM for about £100, whilst I usually pay about £400 for a pre-built one.

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    Seems fairly mixed then. Whilst we have proper replacement plans in place (purchasing new for the old), we doubt they'll actually be active again until the budgets start to improve. We were fortunate to find SCC selling refurbished DC7800 SFF units via ebay for £150 each exc VAT, so naturally snapped them up and they're fantastic - quite hard to justify paying new when you can buy a 2yr old refurb, 2.6Ghz core 2, 4GB ram and 250GB HDD for £150. The only thing that concerns me is that, should going down the refurb route prove a wise move in our time of financial desperation, the powers that be may not see a need to revert to the "new" route once finances start to improve.

    For us, it's a massive shift away from a 90% RM hardware network 2 years ago to an increasing number of non-RM machines but still fantastic spec. Only downside is the warranty, given we're used to having a minimum of 3 years on any desktop computer, whereas these HPs have less than a year left.

    May have to start looking at projectors on ebay too - we run an "as and when it dies" scheme which is never good when one actually does die! The bulk of ours are from 04-05 and I highly doubt any en-masse replacement of these will take place any time soon, and I wouldn't trust a refurbished projector like I would a desktop!

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    Chris_'s Avatar
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    Has anybody had any refurbished computers from Stone? I heard that they are priced well and have good warranties, although I can't find much information about this.

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    I can't remember the exact details of the Stone offering and don't remember if I wrote them down at work or not. I do remember thinking that they seemed a pretty decent idea and might be a way of getting some of the older computers replaced temporarily to try and get them included on the next lease when it's up for renewal.

    I think, although could be wrong, that the refurbished warrenty was a NBD (that's the bit I can't remember entirely) exchange if anything went wrong with it, rather then the engineer comming up to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dgsmith View Post
    Seems fairly mixed then. Whilst we have proper replacement plans in place (purchasing new for the old), we doubt they'll actually be active again until the budgets start to improve. We were fortunate to find SCC selling refurbished DC7800 SFF units via ebay for £150 each exc VAT, so naturally snapped them up and they're fantastic - quite hard to justify paying new when you can buy a 2yr old refurb, 2.6Ghz core 2, 4GB ram and 250GB HDD for £150. The only thing that concerns me is that, should going down the refurb route prove a wise move in our time of financial desperation, the powers that be may not see a need to revert to the "new" route once finances start to improve.

    For us, it's a massive shift away from a 90% RM hardware network 2 years ago to an increasing number of non-RM machines but still fantastic spec. Only downside is the warranty, given we're used to having a minimum of 3 years on any desktop computer, whereas these HPs have less than a year left.

    May have to start looking at projectors on ebay too - we run an "as and when it dies" scheme which is never good when one actually does die! The bulk of ours are from 04-05 and I highly doubt any en-masse replacement of these will take place any time soon, and I wouldn't trust a refurbished projector like I would a desktop!
    Is this not a false economy in some ways though? We buy new kit and run it for 4 or 5 years possibly cascading it to other, less intensive use departements as we fund newer machines. If I buy refurb kit that is already 2 years old I'd end up replacing it in another 2 years rather than the 4 or 5 with new kit. I'm not criticising or having a go by the way - just thinking out loud really.

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    Just a thought how do you "refurbish" a pc? Seems to me that all you can do is blow the dust out and re-install the operating system ...

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    dgsmith's Avatar
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    False economy is an interesting one, as it depends how new or how powerful the refurbished computers you are getting are. The ones we are getting are near enough in-line with the current specification of new ones (we got a bunch of DC7900s 2 months ago with the E8400 CPU, which is better than most of the brand new core 2-based offerings still on the market currently). These DC7900s where at most 18 months old (a few where just a year old) yet it works out we're saving more loosing that year than we would paying for brand new and gaining that extra year. If you're getting a 3-4 year old computer then fair enough it is false economy and likely not going to last long at all.

    I think the term "refurbished" is used loosely - probably more accurately just to say "2nd hand/used", although I think to classify as refurbished it has to be in or close to the same state it was when it was brand new, but not actually being "brand new" (although it could cosmetically be as such).

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