January 18, 2010

Money Saving Tips

Filed under: Tech Tutorials — mbrown @ 12:12 pm

Purchasing hardware and software on a limited budget can be a

challenge, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.

What is the difference

between educational and commercial versions of software?

Aside from the price, educational versions of software are generally functionally identical to commercial versions of software. While functionally identical, the educational version of a software is often designed with extra features targeted toward educational and student use which would then make the software unsuitable for a professional production environment.

Educational discounts are often given to teachers, students, and faculty for at least one copy of educational software and educational institutions are often eligible for discounted pricing, reduced shipping, and tax-exempt purchases.

What are the benefits of purchasing multiple user licenses compared to

individual software copies?

The biggest advantage is the price, the more you buy, the more you save. For example an individual copy of Inspiration 9 is $69 but a 10 User License is $550 reducing the price per copy to $55.  Manufacturers generally offer substantial discounts to consumers willing to purchase volume licensing for several reasons.

First, administration costs are lower for one-time purchase and installation. Many manufacturers also add the option of technical support when you purchase volume licensing, which is very helpful when you want to purchase a program and start using it in the classroom right away.

How do I build a computer lab on a limited budget?

Here are a few options to consider when building a computer lab on a small budget.

1) Choose a smaller business that builds custom computers. Many schools have chosen to go with local businesses such as Capital City Computers in Jeff City, MO or Automation Services in Perryville, MO who can customize computers to meet their needs. They offer many of the options that larger companies do but with more personalized service. Many schools have found that they can get computers for less than $500 per tower and purchase new or used monitors  for $100 or less.

2) Large companies and government agencies often upgrade their hardware to stay on the cutting edge of technology every couple of years. This is an excellent way for schools to benefit. Contact companies in your area to find out if they are willing to donate used computers to your school. Talk to the parents of students at your school and find out if they have contacts with local businesses who would be willing to donate used computers, monitors, printers, scanners, or other equipment.

Many times these computers sit in storage units or warehouses collecting dust. If your school is the recipient of donated equipment it could then participate in programs such as Microsoft Donated Computer Operating System, which allows public and private K-12 schools to make sure that donated computers are properly licensed. Schools can complete a short application and, if approved, receive license documentation and Windows Installation CDs at no cost. Another program is the Microsoft Software Donation program which allows schools to request up to six software titles for donated computers.

3) Purchase dual tower computers and slightly used monitors. Dual tower computers are two computers in one tower. They are more affordable and also take up less space in your classroom. Computer Depot in OverlandPark, KS offers custom built dual/twin tower computers and slightly used monitors at extremely affordable prices.

Purchasing hardware and software can be tricky. One thing to keep in mind is to always obtain price quotes from more than one vendor. Most vendors are willing to match pricing if you find a lower price elsewhere.

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