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New vs Used PCs for Schools

 
 
SchoolTech
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      03-14-2005
[Grrrr! why don't paradise fix their useless news server... grumble grumble]

I have had a hardsell recently from people who specialise in buying up
these ex lease Compaqs / IBMs etc, at minimal cost, and reselling them at
low prices to schools.

The argument in favour of using these computers goes something along
these lines:

1. For the price of a new PC (say $1000), you can get five secondhand
units at $200 each. That is about a 3 1/2 year old unit with a 1Ghz CPU
etc.

2. If it breaks down after a few months, throw it away - you are still
saving money. Just throw them away instead of fixing them (as the cost of
major repairs is uneconomic at these prices)

3. The school could buy all their PCs at once at such cheap prices and
thus be able to standardise, making it easier to maintain them.

I see the cons as follows:

1. For general school use the effective working life of a PC is around 5
years. Buying old units simply means they will have to be replaced about
every year even if they don't break down.

2. There is additional cost over new because the suppliers generally
don't preload the machines with software as new machine suppliers do. The
purchaser must still setup the machines from scratch and configure it to
local conditions.

3. The Compaq and other brands often use nonstandard components. For
example low profile cases for the sake of compactness use proprietary
power supplies, low profile CDROM drives or low profile PCI cards. These
are often more difficult to obtain especially the custom components like
the power supply, which in my experience tends to be the most common
failure apart from the HDD.

4. The machines are given with a short warranty and as such for the
majority of failures, major service is uneconomic. Despite the low cost
there is still a degree of inconvenience for the school from broken down
equipment. They can get around this by buying some more machines and
keeping them stockpiled ready to be put into use against major failures.

My feeling is that overall there is no compelling argument either way on
economic grounds, but equally there is no strong economic favour for the
use of secondhand stuff over new. New PCs while more expensive depreciate
at about the same rate over five years as second hand machines over a
shorter period.


 
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DoggNZ
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      03-14-2005
On Mon, 14 Mar 2005 15:48:58 +1300, "SchoolTech"
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>[Grrrr! why don't paradise fix their useless news server... grumble grumble]
>
>I have had a hardsell recently from people who specialise in buying up
>these ex lease Compaqs / IBMs etc, at minimal cost, and reselling them at
>low prices to schools.
>


<snip>

Yawn

--
BOINC SETI
http://boinc.mundayweb.com/seti2/sta...1469&trans=off
 
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wogers nemesis
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      03-14-2005
On Mon, 14 Mar 2005 15:48:58 +1300, SchoolTech wrote:

> [Grrrr! why don't paradise fix their useless news server... grumble grumble]
>


Join Orcon then

> I have had a hardsell recently from people who specialise in buying up
> these ex lease Compaqs / IBMs etc, at minimal cost, and reselling them at
> low prices to schools.
>


From the uni point of view dept.

> The argument in favour of using these computers goes something along
> these lines:
>
> 1. For the price of a new PC (say $1000), you can get five secondhand
> units at $200 each. That is about a 3 1/2 year old unit with a 1Ghz CPU
> etc.
>


Sounds good. We get ours for next to nothing from other departments.
Absolutely nothing wrong with 1 GHz processors as along as they have about
256 megs or 512 is better. They run stuff perfectly fine (even XP - gasp),
depsite what some people try and tell you.

> 2. If it breaks down after a few months, throw it away - you are still
> saving money. Just throw them away instead of fixing them (as the cost of
> major repairs is uneconomic at these prices)
>

Just keep a couple for parts.

> 3. The school could buy all their PCs at once at such cheap prices and
> thus be able to standardise, making it easier to maintain them.
>

Sure, although I myself just use Sysprep and Ghost and so it doesn't matter
baout the hardware. Although having to unlock the mysteries of each case
nad its layout can be very annoying.

> I see the cons as follows:
>
> 1. For general school use the effective working life of a PC is around 5
> years. Buying old units simply means they will have to be replaced about
> every year even if they don't break down.
>
> 2. There is additional cost over new because the suppliers generally
> don't preload the machines with software as new machine suppliers do. The
> purchaser must still setup the machines from scratch and configure it to
> local conditions.
>

There is a ton of free software out here to do stuff. Again Ghost and use
Sysprep to make sure the settings are consistent etc.

> 3. The Compaq and other brands often use nonstandard components. For
> example low profile cases for the sake of compactness use proprietary
> power supplies, low profile CDROM drives or low profile PCI cards. These
> are often more difficult to obtain especially the custom components like
> the power supply, which in my experience tends to be the most common
> failure apart from the HDD.
>

Some compaqs do but most is pretty standard. I agree about power supplies
- they often give up in old machines and being able to replace them with a
cheap $30 new one is helpful. I'd avoid the low profile ones then.
Anyway, all the kids probably fiddle much more with desktop cases

> 4. The machines are given with a short warranty and as such for the
> majority of failures, major service is uneconomic. Despite the low cost
> there is still a degree of inconvenience for the school from broken down
> equipment. They can get around this by buying some more machines and
> keeping them stockpiled ready to be put into use against major failures.
>


Alas, I've had many new PCs have faults in them e.g. a brand of poor
memory. Sometimes organising the RMAs etc is even more painful then just
rading a spare machine. Just keep the spares ready - anyway the software
could be to blame and this would affect new ones too (I'd just reimage
them).

> My feeling is that overall there is no compelling argument either way on
> economic grounds, but equally there is no strong economic favour for the
> use of secondhand stuff over new. New PCs while more expensive depreciate
> at about the same rate over five years as second hand machines over a
> shorter period.


Can't comment too much on the economics. In my case the initial budget for
all new PCs just isn't there, hence secondhand ones to boost the numbers
(and to get rid of the *really* old ones).
 
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My
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      03-14-2005
On Mon, 14 Mar 2005 15:48:58 +1300, "SchoolTech"
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

DIY

go to www.computerlink.co.nz

 
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-=rjh=-
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      03-14-2005
SchoolTech wrote:
> [Grrrr! why don't paradise fix their useless news server... grumble grumble]
>
> I have had a hardsell recently from people who specialise in buying up
> these ex lease Compaqs / IBMs etc, at minimal cost, and reselling them at
> low prices to schools.


Why not buy these direct?
>
> The argument in favour of using these computers goes something along
> these lines:
>
> 1. For the price of a new PC (say $1000), you can get five secondhand
> units at $200 each. That is about a 3 1/2 year old unit with a 1Ghz CPU
> etc.
>
> 2. If it breaks down after a few months, throw it away - you are still
> saving money. Just throw them away instead of fixing them (as the cost of
> major repairs is uneconomic at these prices)
>
> 3. The school could buy all their PCs at once at such cheap prices and
> thus be able to standardise, making it easier to maintain them.
>
> I see the cons as follows:
>
> 1. For general school use the effective working life of a PC is around 5
> years. Buying old units simply means they will have to be replaced about
> every year even if they don't break down.


Doesn't this depend on what software the systems are running, and what
they are used for? For most uses, I would have thought 1Ghz is heaps,
provided there is adequate memory.
>
> 2. There is additional cost over new because the suppliers generally
> don't preload the machines with software as new machine suppliers do. The
> purchaser must still setup the machines from scratch and configure it to
> local conditions.


Surely that is just a case of using a drive image, since the systems are
all the same? How does schools software licensing fit into this?

>
> 3. The Compaq and other brands often use nonstandard components. For
> example low profile cases for the sake of compactness use proprietary
> power supplies,


In the case of the Compaqs, true

low profile CDROM drives

Nope, the 1 GHz Compaq systems have a standard 5.25" bay, standard IDE
cable port. Some earlier models used to have slimline CDROM drives, best
avoided.

or low profile PCI cards.

Nope, these Compaq systems have 3 full height PCI slots (sideways).

For the reasons you've just stated I'd avoid systems with the features
you list.

These
> are often more difficult to obtain especially the custom components like
> the power supply, which in my experience tends to be the most common
> failure apart from the HDD.


Actually, my main concern would be the hard drive, rather than the PSU.
I have bought several of these systems (still talking about Compaqs,
here), and probably 25% of the hdds are faulty, with a further 25% too
noisy to use as a desktop machine. PSUs are all fine. So far.

On the other hand, these systems come with onboard everything, but only
USB 1.1 (which could possibly be an issue), I don't know what schools
use USB for.
>
> 4. The machines are given with a short warranty and as such for the
> majority of failures, major service is uneconomic. Despite the low cost
> there is still a degree of inconvenience for the school from broken down
> equipment. They can get around this by buying some more machines and
> keeping them stockpiled ready to be put into use against major failures.
>

Sounds like a good idea, and faulty systems will have other useful
parts. An added bonus for the Compaqs is that they are screwless, they
are really nice to work on.

> My feeling is that overall there is no compelling argument either way on
> economic grounds, but equally there is no strong economic favour for the
> use of secondhand stuff over new. New PCs while more expensive depreciate
> at about the same rate over five years as second hand machines over a
> shorter period.


What if the systems are used as clients, wouldn't that affect the
argument somewhat? Especially if they were diskless.

Look, these systems are going for as little as $90 including 17"
monitor, I would have thought for schools were cashflow is an issue,
there would have to be a place for these systems. Hell, they even make
damn fine (they are *very* quiet) fileservers. They run Linux perfectly
well.

I'm using a 667MHz Compaq system as my main PC at the moment, it runs
dual displays and is almost silent. Lovely machines. Best thing since
sliced bread. I like them, can you tell?

All of the above relates to DeskPro ENS systems, the Ipaq is a different
kettle of fish. I'd avoid those, for sure.
 
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MarkH
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Posts: n/a
 
      03-14-2005
DoggNZ <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in
news:(E-Mail Removed):

> On Mon, 14 Mar 2005 15:48:58 +1300, "SchoolTech"
><(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>>[Grrrr! why don't paradise fix their useless news server... grumble
>>grumble]
>>
>>I have had a hardsell recently from people who specialise in buying up
>>these ex lease Compaqs / IBMs etc, at minimal cost, and reselling them
>>at low prices to schools.
>>

>
><snip>
>
> Yawn


This gets my vote for most boring and pointless post ever! If you have
nothing to contribute then why bother posting?


--
Mark Heyes (New Zealand)
See my pics at www.gigatech.co.nz (last updated 20-Jan-05)
"There are 10 types of people, those that
understand binary and those that don't"

 
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David Preece
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Posts: n/a
 
      03-14-2005
-=rjh=- wrote:
>> I have had a hardsell recently from people who specialise in buying up
>> these ex lease Compaqs / IBMs etc, at minimal cost, and reselling them at
>> low prices to schools.

>
> Why not buy these direct?


The hassle is phenomenal. You have to find all the auctions, get
contacts in lease firms etc. etc. When you actually have the things you
need to wipe the hard drives, test them, and last but not least clear up
what the legal situation is with the software. In most cases this boils
down to "it does not have a license".

>> 1. For the price of a new PC (say $1000), you can get five secondhand
>> units at $200 each. That is about a 3 1/2 year old unit with a 1Ghz CPU
>> etc.


See, if you have a central source that can provide these, clean them up,
test them to make sure they're not going to go bang ... strikes me as
a fine deal. The specs are surprisingly good - provided they're also
able to wedge in a ton more RAM (PC133 is getting towards being rare).

>> 3. The school could buy all their PCs at once at such cheap prices and
>> thus be able to standardise, making it easier to maintain them.


Ah, yes, in theory. In practice you'd probably be better of replacing
all the PSU's and all the hard drives - but that would do for the
overall economics of the thing.

>> 1. For general school use the effective working life of a PC is around 5
>> years. Buying old units simply means they will have to be replaced about
>> every year even if they don't break down.


Well, they don't *have* to be replaced but you will increasingly limit
what can be done on the machines. Like, as soon as the students want to
start doing video editing you'll be buggered, and they (quite rightly)
will want to know what they're doing being given such lame-arse
computers. Should've got them macs all along

(there, I said it)

Dave

 
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E. Scrooge
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Posts: n/a
 
      03-14-2005

"SchoolTech" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:d12u2q$m2j$(E-Mail Removed)...
> [Grrrr! why don't paradise fix their useless news server... grumble
> grumble]
>
> I have had a hardsell recently from people who specialise in buying up
> these ex lease Compaqs / IBMs etc, at minimal cost, and reselling them at
> low prices to schools.
>
> The argument in favour of using these computers goes something along
> these lines:
>
> 1. For the price of a new PC (say $1000), you can get five secondhand
> units at $200 each. That is about a 3 1/2 year old unit with a 1Ghz CPU
> etc.
>
> 2. If it breaks down after a few months, throw it away - you are still
> saving money. Just throw them away instead of fixing them (as the cost of
> major repairs is uneconomic at these prices)
>
> 3. The school could buy all their PCs at once at such cheap prices and
> thus be able to standardise, making it easier to maintain them.
>
> I see the cons as follows:
>
> 1. For general school use the effective working life of a PC is around 5
> years. Buying old units simply means they will have to be replaced about
> every year even if they don't break down.
>
> 2. There is additional cost over new because the suppliers generally
> don't preload the machines with software as new machine suppliers do. The
> purchaser must still setup the machines from scratch and configure it to
> local conditions.
>
> 3. The Compaq and other brands often use nonstandard components. For
> example low profile cases for the sake of compactness use proprietary
> power supplies, low profile CDROM drives or low profile PCI cards. These
> are often more difficult to obtain especially the custom components like
> the power supply, which in my experience tends to be the most common
> failure apart from the HDD.
>
> 4. The machines are given with a short warranty and as such for the
> majority of failures, major service is uneconomic. Despite the low cost
> there is still a degree of inconvenience for the school from broken down
> equipment. They can get around this by buying some more machines and
> keeping them stockpiled ready to be put into use against major failures.
>
> My feeling is that overall there is no compelling argument either way on
> economic grounds, but equally there is no strong economic favour for the
> use of secondhand stuff over new. New PCs while more expensive depreciate
> at about the same rate over five years as second hand machines over a
> shorter period.


LOL
The used ones could be well used. All very well to say just throw them
away, but the rubbish cost a few hundred bucks to start with. By going new
they're fresh any problems should show up straight away. They should last
longer since they're not on their last legs. It doesn't pay to replace them
every 2 years.
And any school is most likely going to using the PCs pretty hard and
expecting good reliability from them, and most likely doesn't want to lose
the work that gets stored away on them. Even more reason to keep well away
from well used rubbish.
And the price of a new PC is cheaper than ever. If you want to save on
costs, then get them without monitors if your old monitors still do the job.

E. Scrooge


 
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Lawrence DčOliveiro
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Posts: n/a
 
      03-14-2005
In article <d12u2q$m2j$(E-Mail Removed)>,
"SchoolTech" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>I see the cons as follows:
>
>1. For general school use the effective working life of a PC is around 5
>years. Buying old units simply means they will have to be replaced about
>every year even if they don't break down.


In my experience, old PCs are only slightly more likely to break down
than new ones. My oldest working machine is 12 years old. It's on its
third hard drive, but the monitor it's attached to is 14 years old.

In the absence of moving parts, hardware breakdown is a random event,
largely independent of how old the hardware is.

>3. The Compaq and other brands often use nonstandard components. For
>example low profile cases for the sake of compactness use proprietary
>power supplies, low profile CDROM drives or low profile PCI cards. These
>are often more difficult to obtain especially the custom components like
>the power supply, which in my experience tends to be the most common
>failure apart from the HDD.


Well, if you have a bunch of identical machines, you can just
cannibalize the broken-down ones for parts to keep the others going.

>2. There is additional cost over new because the suppliers generally
>don't preload the machines with software as new machine suppliers do. The
>purchaser must still setup the machines from scratch and configure it to
>local conditions.
>
>4. The machines are given with a short warranty and as such for the
>majority of failures, major service is uneconomic. Despite the low cost
>there is still a degree of inconvenience for the school from broken down
>equipment. They can get around this by buying some more machines and
>keeping them stockpiled ready to be put into use against major failures.


I think these two issues taken together point to the main stumbling
block: higher support costs if you need help from others to keep the
machines going. But if you have your own staff who know what they're
doing, the costs should work out lower than buying new.

Also you can take shortcuts as described above: instead of trying to
keep all the machines working, use breakdowns as an opportunity to turn
the broken-down machines into a source of parts to keep the rest going.
And buy a few more machines to top up the numbers each time. Just make
sure you have, say, at least 3-4 machines of each type.

I suspect if you sat down and worked out a detailed numerical
spreadsheet model of expected costs etc, you could make a good case that
the whole second-hand thing is an entirely reasonable thing to do.
 
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Lawrence DčOliveiro
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-14-2005
In article <hV9Zd.1262498$(E-Mail Removed)>,
MarkH <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>DoggNZ <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in
>news:(E-Mail Removed) :
>
>> On Mon, 14 Mar 2005 15:48:58 +1300, "SchoolTech"
>><(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>
>>>[Grrrr! why don't paradise fix their useless news server... grumble
>>>grumble]
>>>
>>>I have had a hardsell recently from people who specialise in buying up
>>>these ex lease Compaqs / IBMs etc, at minimal cost, and reselling them
>>>at low prices to schools.
>>>

>>
>><snip>
>>
>> Yawn

>
>This gets my vote for most boring and pointless post ever!


Well, it's about money, and working out the details of spending versus
saving money bores a lot of people. Which is why those who are good at
it can earn so much.

Kind of like computing, really...
 
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