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New ICT suite advice

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by udothat@home?, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. Once again I need the advice of the good people of TES forums. After deciding not to go with a load of laptops (phew!) we are now going to update our ICT suite.
    We are a North London primary school on a tight budget, like everyone else, and want to refurb our old room and install 30 pcs.
    So any advice welcome, particularly if you can recommend any good installation companies.
    We are also considering doing it ourselves so would be interested to hear from anyone who went down that route.
    Many thanks.
  2. Define tight budget.
  3. As an example, we put together a plan using 35 refurbed 2.1Ghz Core 2 duo PCs running Windows 7 (including 18.5" widescreen monitors), an HP Proliant server running server 2008R2, 4 laptops, various wireless points, a UPS, Anti Virus and a couple of printers for £10,000 + labour and VAT (they're exempt from that anyway).

    You can do miracles if you know where to look.
  4. Refurbs are definitely a resource worth tapping. I know it sounds cruel but one person's economically induced corporate collapse is another's shiny new ICT suite. The best deal we've found so far was for a 2.1GHz dual core tower with 2 GB of RAM and an 80GB SATA disk with XP pre-installed on a refurb licence for £166 including a 19" Hanns G monitor, keyboard and mouse.

    I suspect I may be about to drop a virtual molotov into the thread though on the Linux front which, given that I've been using Linux as my primary OS since 1998 with this post being typed on my Debian Squeeze admin box, should not be taken as an all out attack. Ubuntu, whilst being free, is a dangerous thing to dump on people in one go. Seriously, if you've supporterd users over any period of time you'll know that for some, just moving an icon on the desktop can seriously traumatise them. Moving them to a completely new Operating System could see government plans to reduce the number of people on long term sick leave seriously set back.

    Add into this that you need to have someone with the knowledge required to set it up. If you run SIMS, you have to have server 2003+. If you're in a primary school, a single server should be capable of handling everything. If you drop a Linux server in you can VM server 2008 or run 2 servers but there's no point as you'll still need the same number of CALs anyway. If you're running server 2003+, you're then asking someone to set Samba up as an AD client on a system that they've only just come across. Seriously, I've been there, tried to do it and unless everyone is fully clued up and on-board from the outset all that will result is a lot of animosity and a crowd of people saying Linux?Tried that, it was ****.

    On the plus side, I'm working on a website to plug FOSS on servers but it's taking a long time due to other commitments. When there's something worth posting I'll out the address up.

  5. Thanks for all the advice.
    Sorry for not being specific about the budget, it is of course relevant.
    I'm thinking I might have about £15,000 max but the cheaper the better.
    I now realise I should have been much more specific in the original post.
    All the tech side is dealt with by our ICT technician and we already have 15 PCs although the head would like to get all new ones and farm the others out through the school.
    Ikea sounds like a good way to get cheap fixtures and fittings.
    What sort of configurations have people found the most practical. Islands? Rows? Round the room?
    if there is anyone in the North London area who would like to show off their suite I'd be very happy to come and visit.

    Thanks again.
  6. I have the original quote for the other Primary that we drew up with pricings included. There's no furniture but it does include all the basic hardware and software including 35 machines for £10000. PM me your email address and I'll mail the spreadsheet across.
  7. If you have the space for it, computers round three sides of the room seems to be the ideal, although finding a school that actually has the space for this is rare. Most classrooms seem to be arranged around some modification - computers around three sides, with a row going down the middle, maybe.
    Ikea is handy for table legs and cable trays, but a lot of their table tops are veneered particle board of some kind - pretty much cardboard with a thin wood-coloured layer on top. They won't stand up to much punishment, and will scratch very easily. You might be better off with benching, like a kitchen worktop. If you are fitting this yourself to save money then places like Homebase will cut this to size for you, you just need to fix it to the wall (just screw some strips of sawn timber into the walls and screw the benching to that) and attach table legs to hold it all up.

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