mike asks: "I'm mulling the logic of my company building its own desktop computers. As the IT Manager (plus sysadmin, janitor...) of a struggling-yet-thankfully-still-alive dotcom, money is really tight. We have around sixty ~400MHz desktops which are increasingly showing their age. Acceptable P4 systems from the big guys run at least $1000. By recycling the OS (Win2k), case, cdrom, floppy, and K/V/M, I figure I can assemble a good AMD system for about $600. That's a 40% savings. Is it worth it? The cost difference could very well determine whether this project proceeds or gets put on the back-burner again."
"Some negatives about rolling my own:
- Management: I won't get the special business features offered by some manufacturers. Dell's OpenImage, for example, looks awfully nice. But how much does that really buy me in a company of 60 machines? I don't use such stuff now; am I missing out on nirvana?
- Time to build: Even though we'd leverage Ghost wherever possible, handmade systems nevertheless take time to build, load, & configure.
- Supporting different platforms: Because money is so tight, I can at best afford a capital replacement rate of 25%-33% (15-20 units) per year. That means I'm committing to the support of 3 or 4 different platforms. Having just one platform is great, but how many companies, even ones that actively strive for it, truly enjoy that luxury? I inherited two platforms (Micron & Gateway); support isn't that bad. With proper planning, I don't see why we can't support four.
- Hardware quality: How much can I trust a popular Athlon chipset in a business environment? I feel silly bringing this up because I have a few Athlon systems at home, each with a different chipset, and they've been nothing but rock solid. But I know the lack of a really good chipset has been a large contributor to why AMD's aren't more prevalent in the business world. (well, that and long term bullying by Intel).
- I don't get a proven, prepackaged system that works right out of the box.
- Cost savings. Plain & simple.
- Increased horsepower per dollar spent.
- By choosing my own equipment (mobo especially), I suffer fewer OEM shortcuts.
- I have to admit that I'd enjoy the pure geek satisfaction of rolling out 'my' creation to the company.
For those that are curious, Ask Slashdot did an article on the AMD issue, here.