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Internet Cafe needs new computers. Can anyone recommend a setup?

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July 31, 2008 4:57:01 PM

I'm an avid reader of this forum and know someone can help me

I run an internet cafe in the south of england, and have reached a situation.

The PC's in the web cafe are crap. old compag deskpro's with pentium III's running xp home sp2, old crt monitors and just really slow.

I need smallish PC's with at least 3 usb2 ports. enough power for viewing web videos, running office, burning dvd's, basic internet cafe stuff.

have looked into the Intel D201GLY2 mini itx boards with celeron 220's but they look slow already and i want the cafe to be at least fast for a couple of years and not have to upgrade soon.

much obliged geezers.

the help would be great
July 31, 2008 5:00:59 PM

Question :
Will this be only an Internet Cafe or will it be also an online gaming quarter?
July 31, 2008 5:13:12 PM

no, noo, noooo. not gaming. in an internet cafe?

not quite that much money in it to be honest. although in future im looking to create another shop with gaming facilities.

nice to see people reading and wanting to help, thanx.
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July 31, 2008 5:21:25 PM

i see two options for you: go intel and get a dual core celeron, or go amd and build a simple athlon x2 system.
July 31, 2008 5:32:32 PM

OK
Everything onboard with the lowest power consumption as posiible..
Is that what you want?
July 31, 2008 5:33:44 PM

anyone know anyone who owns a internet cafe?

i suppose if anyone has made or has looked into making low priced, but mid range performance, has tested and knows that the components chosen are compatible/stable then would be much obliged.

thanx
July 31, 2008 5:37:08 PM

i'm thinking that you should build some amd systems and use the 45W athlon x2's. they're easy on power consupmtion and they're not even expensive. they perform decently too!
July 31, 2008 5:37:12 PM

low power, heat, cost. stable, reliable, mid range performance (meaning, if browsing web or transferring files it doesn't run like a dog) and will last a couple of years, plus i guess, a small system.


was looking at the latest review on mini itx by intel, but looks pants, also looked at other itx setups with vesa mount cases to go behind lcd monitors. just too expensive, unless anyone else knows of an itx solution?
July 31, 2008 5:41:25 PM


It may be a little pricey, but I just saw these new Inspiron Desktops and in my opinion they look really sweet.

They should work fine for your purpose and they would also look great aesthetically-wise...

http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.asp...

Here is my 2 cents...

My bad, it's not inspiron, it's Studio...
July 31, 2008 5:44:14 PM

vmardegan said:
It may be a little pricey, but I just saw these new Inspiron Desktops and in my opinion they look really sweet.

They should work fine for your purpose and they would also look great aesthetically-wise...

http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.asp...

Here is my 2 cents...

My bad, it's not inspiron, it's Studio...


a pre-built small form factor pc might be the way to go. the OP has to factor in buying a windows license key for each computer. at this price point, pre-built may end up being cheaper.
July 31, 2008 5:45:22 PM

saw the product spec, i agree, but US price
450 dollars. UK price from £399!? just not an option. not affordable as times it by 7. i have 7 pc's to replace
July 31, 2008 5:46:02 PM

+1 for pre-built small form pc.
July 31, 2008 5:50:31 PM

What Price Are you Looking At?
Do you need Keyboards and Mice?
Do you need an OS?
Do you need New Monitors?
July 31, 2008 5:57:58 PM

if the price is right with all those things on top then i'll be interested.

although i do already have the 7 xp home licences
July 31, 2008 5:58:48 PM

will check back on here laterz guys, thanks for the info so far, but i gotta shut the shop now.

i close at 7pm, lol.
July 31, 2008 5:58:52 PM

Definitely just go out and try to find a computer with what you need from something like dell or hp, and maybe a mac if you have customers who are in to that sort of thing. The pre-builts will save you money and time.
July 31, 2008 6:22:52 PM
July 31, 2008 6:24:25 PM

Excuse my ignorance, but....

Whats wrong with a decent server and log-on smart terminals? Many low
cost alternatives are available in this area and it would increase your
security by centralization and decrease your theft ratio per station.
There have been studies done that show a viable cost reduction in
the use of centralization and smart terminal applications versus
ease of consumer use and profitability. Software abounds for these
applications, they (software and hardware) are easily set-up and
maintained.
The security issues are well known...
Centralization login
user logs in secure area for authority applications
user illegaility prevention by centralization
etc....

It seems to me that the cost factor of several full function computers
networked would be considerably higher than server-terminal costs.
Most Metropolitan utility companies, police, fire and administrative offices
are server-terminal based and are done so at low-bid cost versus
standalone full service computer costs...as well as the implied control
of the facility administrator over private usage of standalone computers
when used as stations.

just my 2 cents....
July 31, 2008 10:15:04 PM

but the fact being there is only 7 pc's on the network for customers and one acting currently as printer server on a network linked to 2 networked service ports so can load drivers and software from the server pc. when servicing and repairing pc's, oh yeah i repair pc's too, i need to connect to the server to install antivirus programs and such.

i suppose im trying to say, can i build mini itx pc's low cost instead of fully blown mini atx? and save money not for a vast loss in performance for funtions common with internet cafe's
July 31, 2008 10:31:51 PM

This is easy guys come on! He needs (modern) machines that beep for gods sake! the only thin making this expensive is its x 7.

web surfing (even with video) only requires a modren SINGLE core processor. Though would I get a dual for longevity? not sure.

I cant quote UK prices.

look at 780g amd boards (has video acceleration in case thats ever needed) I like this one cause its all solid state caps

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

cheapest dual core processor (well, spend a little more for a low voltage one)
1 gig of ddr2 ram

keep hard drives from old machine (they just need to hold the os and browser right?)

If the compaq cases are ATX style, keep em

I dont know of a good solid low power powersupply, but I am sure people can give you recomendations


around $250 US sound bout right?



Spunks
July 31, 2008 10:40:13 PM

I agree with Spunks completely

Keep what you can

cheap AMD dual cores (aren't they all), or power efficient depending on your needs

780G motherboard to avoid buying dedicated video cards (for the next few years)

XP should have 1 GB RAM, Vista should have 2 GB (reuse the XP licenses hopefully)

Keep the hard drives, CD/DVD drives, keyboards, rodents...
Buy new Cases, PSUs, and LCD monitors
July 31, 2008 11:03:51 PM

if you do go on a prebuilt like the one offered, the optical drive is important. tourists come to internet cafes to burn images from the camera, I suggest that spending the 100$ (for all of them) on good 20X ones is a good idea.
except that I second spunks and Mr Man.
August 1, 2008 8:26:22 AM

Hmmmm....
That is a little bit different from my experience.
An optical drive on every computers in an internet cafe is a big source of problem, and they tend to be broken very fast.
If your costumer wants to burn any datas, just let them come to you asking for it.
August 1, 2008 9:02:34 AM

i'll be back at work soon and will continue the convo there.

but thanks loads guys. oh and the optical drives currently are cd-rom slim drives. hdd's are 10gb drives, bit slow and old, u reckon they'll be fine?

the cases are micro atx desktops, flat cases and have to have weird cpu heatsinks and probably too much hassle
August 1, 2008 10:41:00 AM

the HDD will be good but I think that DVD burners are ESSENTIAL. I remember I traveled to holland and we had to wait a VERY long time for the DVDs to burn (1GB memory card=2CD).
August 1, 2008 1:49:35 PM

First suggestion:

Take to a provider in your region and try to buy a Asus Pundit or Shuttle XPCs. They are both barebones, but great and pretty products for a internet cafe. I dont know about prices there, so ask a bit.

Second:

CPU: AMD X2 4850e (low consuption, low Price, low TCO also)
Board: a Gigabyte 780G will do fine. They are cheap, DX10.1 capable and all around pretty good.
Ram: 2 Gigs of ram each (2x1Gb). Dual Channel is noticeable even in mundane operation, and ram is dirty cheap.
HDDs: Buy the least you can. Sata 2 but the smaller/cheaper you can. You really don't need much. Its Windows and OOo.
PSU/Casing: try to buy it in bundle, they get cheaper. They aren't good for heavy gaming or power users, but hey, it is office and web surfing. Most cheap cases come with line-in, Line-out and two USBs in the front. You can go Micro Atx depending on the board. Get a good looking one.
Card Reader: Many will want to print or send fotos, you need one of this for each machine.
DVD-RW/ROM: Don't include. If they want burn anything, charge for it. Or at least sell them the Cds/DVDs.
Monitor: Get a real good looking one. 19" or 22" Wide. Depends on your budget.
KB/mouse Get decent Logitech ones (wired).

Most of all, get a pretty looking system. If people are renting for it, and you will see them come back if the Case/Monitor/KB/Mouse are pretty or make a cool set.

August 1, 2008 4:25:32 PM

i know i wouldnt wanna use crappy looking pc's with dirty cheap keyboards.

space is an issue, about 1/2m depth with about 70cm width. so 22" too big. nout wrong with 17" 's or 19" 's. should i buy reconditioned screens at £60 a pop, or branded 19" at around £100?

to save cost i was thinking 2 out of the 7 pc's to have dvd+-rw's. and the shuttle cases, well barebone they are expensive here in UK.
August 1, 2008 5:43:56 PM

Dude get a Dell! hehe

I hate to recommend a pre-built PC to anyone, but in your case its the best solution.

You can a fully setup PC for $450 complete with monitor. Build an image when you install them. If one of them gets messed up, just re image the hard drive. Easy cheesy. No need to build in this case.
August 1, 2008 5:57:20 PM

uk pricing on dell plus delivary puts me at, on a basic system, £439. thats rubbish. what happened to the pricing, y it so different from US of A?!!! i make that $890!!!!!!!!!! compared to your $450
August 1, 2008 6:39:20 PM

As for security, you could always install Windows SteadyState on all the computers. I've heard it works great for restoring the computer to its original state after a reboot once installed.

If someone installs something, just restart, and it's gone. You can set certain restrictions on it from what I've read too. Plus, I don't know if it's a pro or a con, but it's from Microsoft and it's free.
August 1, 2008 7:48:18 PM

sounds pretty good, until someone needs a language pack installed, or something needs to auto update.

generally avg is good enough.

so what i'm looking at is foxconn am2 boards around £30,
am2 x2 4200+ £28 and coolers £5
1gb ram ddr2 800 £13
80gb sata2 hdd £23
2 out of 7 machines with 20x dvd+- drives
slimline cases with 400w psu £29.99
and if onboard graphics are rubbish then some low end ati cards £35

and try using windows xp from old machines, and already have mice and keyboards, ah and will need some new webcams and headphones/with mic
August 1, 2008 8:31:14 PM

ashman said:
i know i wouldnt wanna use crappy looking pc's with dirty cheap keyboards.

space is an issue, about 1/2m depth with about 70cm width. so 22" too big. nout wrong with 17" 's or 19" 's. should i buy reconditioned screens at £60 a pop, or branded 19" at around £100?

to save cost i was thinking 2 out of the 7 pc's to have dvd+-rw's. and the shuttle cases, well barebone they are expensive here in UK.


Didnt know the price of barebones there.

You can always make yourself "ones" and go for Mini-itx cases and Mini-Itx Boards. But Micro Atx can already provide a really small case. Ive mounted 2 Cyber cafes so far :) 

As for the Ram , get 2x 512 if you can. Dual Channel is noticable when the machines are on the Value category.
I still stand fast on a Gigabyte 780G. Got everything you need and they are ussually reliable. As for the "Refurbished" screens, well, they just need to look good and work :) 

headphone and webcam are cheap. try the ones that comes in a pack. They match, and ussually are cheap.
August 3, 2008 7:16:18 PM

i have tried experimenting with ubuntu running from 1 pc running 4gb ram, Q6600, 2x 8500gt's and a partitioned 320gb hdd. and a mate tried his hardest to get it to work. oh and 4 lcd monitors, 4 multimedia keyboards, 4 wired optical mice and 4 usb hubs to run them.

no luck, just took sooo much time trying to get the 1 pc to run 4 individual desktops independant of each other from 1 pc.

anyone know a way or set up that works and a simple way of doing it?
August 4, 2008 11:17:41 AM

ashman said:
i have tried experimenting with ubuntu running from 1 pc running 4gb ram, Q6600, 2x 8500gt's and a partitioned 320gb hdd. and a mate tried his hardest to get it to work. oh and 4 lcd monitors, 4 multimedia keyboards, 4 wired optical mice and 4 usb hubs to run them.

no luck, just took sooo much time trying to get the 1 pc to run 4 individual desktops independant of each other from 1 pc.

anyone know a way or set up that works and a simple way of doing it?


No. We know, but it isn't that simple. And betting on centralized solution isn't good. You can live without 1 terminal if something borks. In a setup like that one, if something borks, you got half the Net Cafe offline.

Not good.
!