To add to GT90's, Rory's, and Jerret's advice (especially GT90's and Rory's)...
The 12 "surf-machines"...
- Celerons are indeed crap. But, if they're going to be for net-use only, then... eh. But if you have your choice ahead of time, you'll get more cost-effectiveness out of Semprons. If you are going to go Intel for these boxes, I'd much rather see you use 533 FSB Pentium 4's than their... Celeron cousins.
- Outfit them with XP Home instead of XP Pro. You'll save yourself around $50 (at least) on each unit. Common-use surf machines do not need admin functions. They're _clients_.
- See if you can locate a batch of 20GB HD's in bulk. No surf machine needs 80GB of space. Save cost. If you need disk space, that's what your server is for.
- RAM is insanely cheap. I can understand the 512MB thereof.
- A DVD/CDRW on every client? Wow. Ambitious. Not a _bad_ idea, but... eh... I guess the costs are a wash nowadays between a DVD drive and a combo drive. Back in the day, I'd prefer to have the server (or a master machine) do the burn work, and you send the job to be burned over to it. One drive does it all. Then again, "back in the day" was the time where CD drives at 24x were considered lightning quick, and 4x CDRW drives cost $150.
- Unless the cost is negligible between 15" and 17" LCD's, I'd stick 15" displays on the surfers. A 15" LCD gives roughly the same impression as a 17" CRT. Also, whatever you get for a display, make _sure_ (as in, emphasize it emphatically until the tech/rep gets annoyed at you asking) that the "on-site warranty" covers them for 3 years as well. Your monitors are going to get _abused_.
Actually, that brings up a big point... if this is a public-access net cafe', I'd _almost_ advocate for CRT's, simply because they're more durable (and less costly to replace) than LCD's. LCD's have definite appeal, but they don't do well against people's fingers tapping on them and smudges and stuff. My friend's girlfriend caught my ire when she started pointing her fingernails at my LCD display... I could _see_ the crystals pooling up beneath her fingernail, and I could just see the plastic getting scratched. I nearly slapped her hand away and booted her off, and all she was doing was checking her Email while they were visiting!
But yes, again, LCD's _do_ have appeal, and they use far less power consumption.
Okay, now to your Gaming Rigs:
- GT90's dead on... DDR2 is not on current AMD items. You're being snowed, unless it's a typo.
- Perhaps you could start hosting your own vid card wars?
... Half the machines with a solid nVidia product, the other half with an ATI?
- I'm really leary of HD's that big in public access machines, especially when you're investing in a server right around the corner. In this case, you'd probably need a decent amount of disk space to pre-install a slew of games onto so you don't have to dash around doing game installs when the "game du' jour" changes. So _maybe_ 200GB would be fine, but then again... maybe 80GB's or 120GB's would suffice?
- If money's a little tight, _perhaps_ you could do 4 full machines instead of 8, and instead of those 4 additional machines, you provide 4 (or 6) "positions"... stations with a monitor, mouse, and keyboard that players can bring their rig to, set up, and jump on in without having to lug those peripheral devices around. Heck, toss a headphones set, or a speaker set at those stations too. Anything to encourage players to bring in what they've already got, thus giving you more working capital that you don't have to invest in hardware upkeep.
And now, my favorite part... the server:
- More specifically, I'm looking at that patch-bay / switch / router / hub setup. I'm far more interested in that.
- That server, as the guys mentioned, has to be your rock... your centerpiece... so it really should have server-grade componentry in it. Opteron or Xeon, a good amount of RAM, one helluva central-distribution / central-management Anti-Virus package (A Symantec title is very good. I use Corporate Edition 5 machine network myself). And... here's the fun part... A _crapload_ of disk space. I mean, cram it with drives. Anything that needs to be stored should be stored on the server... that's what it's there for. Heck, you might get customers who'll pay you to store needed files or something like that for a week or so. You'd be able to offer "rescue" services... if someone's hard drive is failing, you'd be able to transfer stuff off their drive onto your server temporarily (charge them, of course! Data rescue is big business!).
- What the heck do you need an external HD for? You're getting a server! Put one, two... heck, _five_ hot-swappable hard drive bays in it!
Data exchanges faster on an IDE, SATA, or SCSI chain and a heckuva lot easier than a USB 2.0 or FW1394 interface. Besides, the EHD is one more thing to get stolen, dropped, lost, or electrically scrambled.
There, that's my 2 quid... at least for now.