Government Computer Upgrade

When I sell computers for individuals or small businesses, I will typically do a custom build computer.
One of my MSP clients is our local town government. The town manager is looking for a new computer. All their machines are currently Dells.
So I’m trying to think if it would be better for me to custom build them a computer or order them a Dell.
All their documents are stored on their Windows Server 2008 R2 server, so large hard drive space in the machine itself is not required. The specs I think I would go with either way is, current gen i5, 8GB of RAM and like a 250-500GB SSD with the capability to run dual monitors.
What would you guys do in this situation?

I’m one who works for a local unit of government and I have been the one to procure PC’s for the office. I’d recommend just getting their baseline needs established regarding specifications and needs, then providing them a few options based on that. Configure some Dell or HP computers and some of your own builds and see what comes out cheaper for them. Chances are cost might be a deciding factor for them. They may also take into consideration duration of warranty as well as expected life cycles of the PC as part of their long term budgeting cycle.


Thank you!
I’m going over there in a little while to see what his current hardware is and what programs he uses on the computer, also figure out what their budget is.
I just recently took them on as a client, so I’ve been having to deal with passwords and such, so I haven’t had a chance to look at every individual computer to see what the specs are.

One of our city clients purchases the computers direct from Dell using their city account and we only charge them for the setup, but some clients prefer to have us take care of the whole process turn-key to keep it easy. We don’t often do the computer builds as quality commercial system from Lenovo & Dell are both affordable even when you throw in a 3 year warranty.

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Thank you, Tom!
I’m gonna check to see if they have a Dell account and find something that will fit their needs.

Thank you everyone for your suggestions. They are going to order the system from Dell directly, so it can be within their 2018 finances and I’m charging them a flat rate to configure and install the computer.


How many systems did they estimate? It doesn’t sound like there load will be more then simple office tasks.(Word, Outlook, Excel, etc) So going the Dell route is probably best for both parties.


We’re only doing one system right now, because of their budget for the rest of 2018. But he runs Office and G Suite for email.

So, if you do a custom build, the warranty will be a mess from my experience. I ONLY recommend all-in-ones right now, or small form factor PC’s (for cheap customers). The reason is that i’m tired of repairing pc’s, I have done this all my life. For me it’s simple: for ex they want 10 pc’s, I buy 11-12, everything is backed-up and if anything happens I just swap everything and the bad one goes to warranty.

Bought Dell and Lenovo until now and and both worked fantastic.

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As @LTS_Tom said I would have a look at one of the main commercial system builders. Many offer discounts to government buyers. Plus the warranties on the hardware can be convenient. Business warranty support is not as horrid as consumer warranty support with most manufacturers. Building a system yourself doesn’t really generate a cost savings anymore, unless you are looking for a very specific setup that you would have to buy too many unneeded extras with a mainstream system builder to get.

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As of this year we are only buying Lenovo desktops and laptops. They all come with Windows 10 Pro and the desktops have a 3 year NBD warranty. The thing that saves us a lot of time is the System Update software.

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I wrote this a year ago about business computers vs home computers. I consider white box builds to be home computers:

I’m interested in others feed back.

Not all white box systems are consumer grade. Purpose built systems are quality builds and well documented. White box builders will deliver what the big names can’t or won’t and they get it right the first time. Now, you will not usually get the quality from your average PC shop or basement gaming box builder.

Can you give us some examples? I haven’t come across a “purpose built” system where you can go to a website and run a “detect drivers” wizard or put in the service tag to see what parts it came with.

There is a PC shop that does a fair amount of builds in the area. I took on a client that had one of their servers. It started throwing some disk errors. I looked on their website for drivers or anything that would tell me what was in it. Finding nothing, I called the vendor to figure out what mother board it had in it so I could download updated drivers. They knew the model of the motherboard and RAID card, but not the version of the motherboard. I now have to go on site and down the server to see if it tells me in the BIOS. If not I have to remove the server from the rack so I can open it up to see what is on the motherboard.