I was recently requested to provide input regarding computers for our Municipal Library, which is slated for 24 seats. My opinions and beliefs differ from an older person who's supposedly a Computer Engineer (-turned computer salesman).
We're in the Philippines. During our meeting with the benefactors, he insisted to the benefactors on buying motherboards from the US, because he says they're much better-quality than Asian-made ones. Hello??? Most of the top-class motherboards in the US are from Asia!!
And guess what? He says the boards he's promoting cost $300 each. That's like a dual-CPU board for Opterons already. I don't think it's just an ego thing on both our parts. His intent is to sell, and mine is to get good value-for-money for the PC components for our library. As for the ego part, well, he should be better-aware of hardware components than I, but my course covered a more diverse range of ICT fields. I'm a two-year IT Diploma grad, and he's probably a four- or five-year Computer Engineering grad who doesn't seem to know what a chipset is.
I asked what chipset these expensive boards of his were using. He said ATI. I asked for a specific chipset type. He still insists ATI. I push on suggesting the 890GX because we wouldn't have problems with the graphics, and he counters and insists that HIS board is ATI and to let him take care of those things because he'll be the one "supervising us". The benefactors, of course, speak more to him than to me (generation gap - I'm around 20 or so years younger than they are). They do listen to me when I speak out, though, but like a typical geeky nerd, I'm not that good at sales-talk and I don't have a sweet tongue, so go-figure. I don't think he knows much about feasibility studies - or he does and naturally his gains are the ones he's focusing on.
The last several years, I have been scouting out PC parts in the US every week to get a comparative idea of the prices of boards with various features - they're almost the same - a few dollars/pesos cheaper in the US, and even present, quad-sli/quad-crossfire boards don't amount to that.
And the computers are for a LIBRARY for goodness' sake. It's supposed to be as quiet in there as possible. And imagine how many more thin-client terminals we can buy! What are people going to do on the library computers aside from researching? Play Metro 2033? Geez!
Anyway, with that out of the way, the present issue is still acquisition.
Here's his take. It's too simple:
Get the motherboards, the 8-WAN Linksys load balancing router and Linksys switch from the US to the Philippines ($300 - I guess he'll shoulder the customs and shipping expenses and possible RMAs? I think it's impractical). Purchase other parts from the Philippines.
Buy everything from the Philippines - costs which come to mind are shipping for items to be possibly RMA'd in the future.
For the PCs, I had two options in mind:
I: 1 Dual or Quad Core AM3 CPU on any AM3-compatible board to act as a server, and thin-clients for the terminals - or mini-ITX PCs to act as thin clients.
At $199.99 for the board, $34.99 for a dual-head Radeon 7000 PCI, and 5 dual-head Radeon 4350 PCI Express cards for $34.99 each, you'll spend a lot less, and you get 12 clients for that. I know it's not impossible - just difficult - very difficult, but I think even if we involve other companies such as Userful we won't spend as much as we would if we were to spend $300 for each board for 24 PCs.
I'm off to do some more cost analysis. Please send your opinions my way. I'd highly appreciate it. Thanks.
You can review the sales quote and figure out what he did and how he did it. Sit back and listen to how he is presenting and what he is doing. You have the problem of being young and they most likely won't listen to you. Will they save some money and bet on you being correct? What if you're wrong, what's the cost going to be, etc? Now, if something goes wrong with these systems and they bought from him, they have someone to back it up with little to no cost.
Nothing wrong with you doing your homework. Keep it for yourself and compare what you have to what he has. Sit this one out. After the deal is done I would approach someone you are comfortable with and ask them why they decided to make the purchase when it could have been done cheaper and to the same level in-house. That should provide you with some insight into how the business works.
Even though money could be saved, other factors might play into it outside of saving money.