Music Technology PCs – Getting the best bang for your buck – Version 2.0

Music IT Classes hardwareOver the last decade, computers have become an ever more essential component of a music departments teaching arsenal.  Whether these are basic PCs to run software such as Sibelius in the classroom; through machines of better specification, designed to cope with the rigours of post-production and editing.  At the top of the pile you see mighty machines sat in the recording studio itself, needing immense processing power to handle dozens to real time effects and virtual instruments.

Obviously computers of this ilk aren’t cheap.  You’ll find various well-known online retailers selling Pro-Audio Workstations with a starting price of more than £800.  You’ll also get die-hard Apple fans and Music Tech teachers claiming that Apple machines – with their lovely design & inflated price tag – are the industry standard.  These same people will then push on with the use of GarageBand to the exclusion of all else.

So how do you provide your school with a top-class setup without breaking the bank?
Way back in 2014 I wrote an article comparing a standard iMac of the time (Gen 3 Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD) with one of our Professional HP Workstations.

I showed that for the price of the Mac alone, you could purchase a superior PC, two displays, dedicated Audio Interface, a Midi interface Keyboard & pair of decent headphones.  The complete setup!

So now in 2019 and with five years passed it’s time to see what has changed since I last looked into this.
To make things more interesting, this time I’m going to look at two of the different tiers of machine as mentioned above.

  • A basic music classroom PC with a slightly upgraded teacher setup.
  • A workstation setup ideal for sequencing projects fresh out of the recording studio.

As before we’ll look at a brand new comparison and find ways to spend the difference on additional tools to make the setup more complete.

The Music Classroom PC

iMacThere’s a lot going on in a music classroom so looking at an All in One (AIO) PC for day-to-day use makes sense as this will free up desk space for when the students need to get out instruments.  As our brand new unit for comparison we’re going to bring back our old friend from my first blog on this subject.  The Apple iMac.

The Apple range has diversified somewhat from the halcyon days of 2014.  Apple tend now to release regular updates to their models whilst keeping alive an older model which is used as an entry-point to the range.  This iMac is such a model.

The Mid-2017 21.5” iMac will set you back in the region of £710 (Excluding VAT) brand new and features a 7th Generation dual core i5 Intel mobile processor, 8GB RAM and strangely, the same 5400 rpm 1TB Spinning Hard Disc Drive found in the Late-2013 iMac from my previous blog.  Four years on I am surprised that, in this modern age of DDR4 RAM and Solid State Drives, Apple has persisted with a storage drive boasting what were already dated specifications back in 2013.  Another consideration with an iMac is the peripherals.  iMacs come with the wireless Apple Keyboard & Magic mouse.  Most schools I’ve spoken to prefer to get these swapped out for the more traditional wired accessories.  However, Apple quietly discontinued their longstanding wired keyboard and mouse back in 2017.  For schools looking for a more secure keyboard, the Macally keyboard and mouse combo is a must-buy (available from Amazon for £20).  These niggles aside, the iMac is a nice machine and it comes with GarageBand thrown in for free.  If we ignore the issues involved with getting it to play nicely on a Microsoft based network, it’s a perfectly serviceable machine.

The Alternative

800 g1 aioSo what is out there that is cheaper and perhaps more suited to a networked environment than our entry-level Apple machine?
Keeping with the AIO theme I believe a refurbished HP EliteOne 800 G1 is perfect for the job.  A business-class AIO desktop PC built to HP’s very high standards the 800 G1 boasts a full HD 23” screen, a powerful 4th Generation Intel quad core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and Brand New 120GB Solid State Drive.

The 4th Generation processor, whilst a little older than the one in the iMac is more powerful by almost 20% (see chart)

7360-4590s

Priced at £320 Excluding VAT it is less than half the price of the Apple alternative.

These are machines that are built to last.  Originally shipping with a 3-year warranty from HP.  The refurbished machines have a base 2-year Advance Replace warranty upgradable for a fee to 3 or even 5 years if required.  Shipping with a Professional Windows License, you’ll be able to get them on your network just like any other machine.  The 800 G1 has more than enough power to run software such as Sibelius or Audacity.

These make great classroom PCs, and with the option of a 10-point capacitive touch screen version for as little as £60 extra; they make great collaborative machines, allowing students to work together easily.

For a teacher’s machine I would consider upping the internal SSD storage to 240GB (+£15).  I would also invest in both an audio interface such as the Focusrite Scarlett Solo (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface (Available from Amazon for around £70 Ex VAT) and a Midi Keyboard such as the Nektar Impact LX88+ (Available from Amazon for £180 Ex VAT).  This turns the standard machine into a capable music workstation allowing the teacher access to a speaker-connected 88-key piano interface whilst also giving them the option of connecting up another instrument such as a guitar if they required it.  When connected to the classroom speakers this gives the students a musical focal point.

Adding up the costs then, we have the following:

Apple iMac 2017 – £730 (including keyboard & mouse)

  • 5” 1920 x 1080 built-in display
  • 3GHz Intel Dual Core i5 7360U Mobile Processor
  • 8GB Memory
  • 1TB 5400 rpm Hard Disc
  • 1 Year Apple Carry-in Warranty

HP EliteOne 800 G1 – £320

  • 23” 1920 x 1080 built-in display
  • 2.9GHz Intel Quad Core i5 4590S desktop Processor
  • 8GB Memory
  • 120GB Brand New Solid State Drive
  • Windows Professional License
  • 2 Years Advance Replace Warranty

So, £730 – £320 is a saving of £410!

If we then look at adding the features to upgrade the teacher PC…

Audio Interface – £70

Midi Keyboard – £180

SSD Upgrade – £15

The final figure for a fully-kitted out teacher machine is £390 + £70 + £180 + £15 or £585!

That is still £145 less than an entry level iMac!

But what if you need more power?

Whilst those All in One PCs are great for your everyday music classes.  Music Technology focuses more on aspects of music production.  So you’ve laid down tracks in the studio, you’ve got a raw mix but it needs fine tuning.  A mixing lab will typically have several machines available all with similar software to that of the recording studio PC that students laid down the tracks on.  They need to be powerful enough to handle playback whilst running several virtual instruments.  All whilst allowing users a seamless interface that doesn’t freeze whilst they’re adjusting levels or making crucial cuts.

mac-mini-2019An look at the options available from Apple would suggest the 2018 Mac Mini as being suited to this role.  Looking at brand new options for a Windows-based system, we can also consider the 3XS CZ390 – Audio Project PC from Scan Computers who sell this as their entry-level music tech solution.

So let us consider the spec on both of these machines:
The Apple Mac Mini 2018 model (MRTT2B/A) packs a decent amount of power into a small chassis.  Despite having a laptop-class CPU, the 8th Generation Intel Core i5 8500b boasts six processor cores at a respectable 3.0GHz.  Coupled with 8GB DDR4 memory and a 256GB PCIe based SSD, these are very capable boxes.  Even the Mini Mac isn’t cheap however, and this model will set schools back something in the region of £750 Ex VAT!  To keep prices and packaging small, these Macs ship without Keyboard or Mouse which you’ll need to buy in at around £20 for the compatible mac wired keyboard & mouse set mentioned previously.  A decent 23” widescreen TFT will set you back around £100 such as this ACER SA230 from Ebuyer (https://www.ebuyer.com/811134).  That puts the total cost for this system in the region of £870.

The benefits and the drawbacks with this particular model can essentially be boiled down to one word…  Upgrades.  Whilst soldered RAM and SSDs are now standard in Apple’s laptop range and changing a drive in an iMac is a marathon task, it is still possible to do your own upgrades in the Mac Mini.  It’s not easy however, requiring a near total teardown in order to swap out components.

3XS CZ390.fwOur second comparison product is a custom-build PC from Scan Computers’ 3XS system builder.  The imaginatively named CZ390 Audio Project PC is billed as an entry-level machine, ideal for multi-tracking and basic editing duties.  The specs would certainly seem to back this up with a 9th Generation Intel Core i5 9600K hexa core CPU, 8GB DDR4 RAM, a 120GB SSD plus plenty of magnetic storage with a 1TB HDD.

The CZ390 is priced better than the Mac Mini too.  It comes in at £690 Ex VAT which is great for a system with a better spec.  There’s no Keyboard, Mouse or Monitor however so we’ll assume £20 and £100 respectively bringing it’s total cost to £810.

Both of these machines are credible units, if expensive.  Lets look at a refurbished alternative that should outperform both and leave some cash left to spend on Audio Interfaces and other essential tools.  In the computer music world, CPU clockspeed is less of an essential component.  When mixing multiple tracks with effects and post-processing going on in real time CPU core and thread count make a huge difference.  There’s really only one place to look in order to get this.  The beautifully designed HP Z-series workstations, specifically the the Z440, the third generation of the Z4xx range.
Z440 with monitors
A mid-tier professional workstation, the units are found in studios, design and animation houses the world over.  There is good reason for this as these unassuming machines can be stuffed full of server-grade components!
Our example machine is no exception.  Boasting an Intel Xeon E5-2660 V3 with 10 (Yes Ten!) cores and 20 threads; 32GB of fast DDR4 ECC RAM for guaranteed performance; plus a brand new 240GB SSD, 1GB dedicated graphics card and new keyboard & mouse.  All of that come in at a respectable £595 Ex VAT!  There’s no monitor obviously so we’d have to add the superb HP Z24i full-HD IPS display for an additional £80 Ex VAT bringing the total cost for this machine to £675 Ex VAT.  But what you have there is an incredible machine that’ll do everything asked of it without missing a beat.  Despite having a slightly older CPU than our comparison machines, the server CPU inside the Z440 smashes the opposition aside, as can be seen from this table.  The Xeon CPU scores significantly higher than either of the newer processors.  The multiple cores and threads will translate into a far smoother experience for users, with the PC able to do much more without the user having to freeze tracks to save on CPU resources.
There are other areas this machine will excel.  32GB of DDR4 memory will allow the system to keep larger projects in direct memory.  The dedicated graphics card will free up system resources that would otherwise have been diverted away from the main purpose of the machine.

8500-9600-2660

Costs & Side-by-Side Comparison

Model Apple Mac Mini 2018 Scan 3XS – CZ390 HP Z440 (refurbished)
CPU i5 8500B 6 Core  3.0GHz i5 9600K 6 Core 3.7GHz Xeon E5-2660 v310 Core 2.6GHz
Hyper Threading No No Yes
RAM 8GB DDR4 8GB DDR4 32GB DDR4 ECC
Storage 256GB PCIe SSD 120GB SSD
1TB HDD
240GB SSD
Graphics Integrated Integrated Dedicated
Easy to upgrade components? 3/10 Sealed Case 9/10 ATX Case 8/10HP Custom Case
Peripherals £20 £20 Included
Display £100 23” 1920 x 1080 £100 23” 1920 x 1080 £80 24” 1920 x 1200
Total Price £870 £810 £675
Warranty 1 Year Carry-in 3 Years 1st Year onsite 2 Years Advance Replace

NB: spec comparison winner denoted by bold text.

The Refurbished Z440 wins easily in all but three categories (though it is possible to fit PCIe SSD storage if needed and the warranty can be upgraded to 3 or even 5 years for a fee).  The price differences are clear to see with a saving of £195 vs the Mac Mini and £135 vs the CZ390.

Essential Hardware

Stations in a mixing and editing suite need a few essential components in order to make things possible for the user.  These include a dedicated Audio Interface for each PC, a Midi controller keyboard so users can be creative & a decent pair of studio headphones.  Other desirables include USB mixing consoles to allow for a greater degree of precision, though keyboard & mouse functionality is adequate.

The Audio Interface

A decent Audio Interface will make a significant difference when running software such as Ableton Live, Cubase, etc. The specialist drivers in these interfaces go a long way to ensuring top-quality sampling with low-latency.
The Behringer UMC22 is a 2 in 2 out USB interface compatible with all the major recording software releases.  It is ideal for this situation and available from MusicMatter – (www.musicmatter.co.uk/behringer-u-phoria-umc22) for around £32 Ex VAT.

The Midi Controller Keyboard

A good Midi controller keyboard will allow users great control over the edit and mixing process.  There are many on the market and you can spend hundreds of pounds quite easily.  However, all you really need are good plugins and a well-built controller to drive them.  The Alesis V Mini is a 25-key portable USB-Midi controller that is compact enough to fit in the cramped space available in most classrooms.  It is USB-powered so no need for any additional plug.
The controller is well priced too, coming in at £35 Ex VAT on Amazon (www.amazon.co.uk/Alesis-Mini-Portable-Controller-Sensitive/dp/B01BDMKK1W)

Headphones

In a packed classroom, using studio-grade monitor speakers is not possible, so students must mix using headphones.  These need to be robust, and offer a neutral signature with accurate sound reproduction.  This means that everyday headphones will not cut it.  These usually have pre-boosted bass and other enhancements which will give an inaccurate representation of a final mix.
AKG have been making superb headphones for years now and the closed-back AKG K72 Studio Headphones are superb value for money.  Widely available online, they’re on Bax Music (https://www.bax-shop.co.uk/studio-headphones/akg-k72-closed-studio-headphones) for around £25 Ex VAT.

Total Cost of Extras

So we have three essential components to finish our mixing lab.  The interface at £32, the Keyboard at £35 and the headphones for just £25.  That’s a grand total of £92 Ex VAT for everything you need to get set up.
Even when you add this to the price of our Z440 it still comes in at £43 cheaper than the 3XS System & a massive £103 cheaper that the Mac Mini!

Conclusions

So there you have it.  Several comparisons later.  I think it’s fair to say that even in this new world of multi-core computing, it still pays to shop around for the best deal.  Despite the massive boost in processing power of the last couple of CPU generations, refurbished hardware more than holds its own in both the price and performance category.  This isn’t just for day to day use either.  Any old PC can perform well with a spreadsheet or a copy of word open.  Music Tech is a demanding environment, often taxing hardware to the limit.  In that environment, it’s reassuring to know there’s always a cheaper option that absolutely doesn’t compromise on the quality you offer to your users.

Loxit Lapbank TL – The new trolley on the block.

The Loxit Lapbank TL Laptop Trolley

Let us introduce you to the Lapbank TL. A highly engineered, extremely strong and durable, yet lightweight laptop charging trolley.

Loxit Lapbank TL

The New Loxit Lapbank TL – the toploading easy to use laptop trolley

The high strength all steel construction that Loxit have developed over 20 years of designing and manufacturing laptop charging trolleys makes it extremely durable and robust, perfect for the school environment.

This top loading trolley, ensures that there is no bending down  when returning laptops to the trolley, and cables are more easily managed with the top down view.

It provides excellent maneuverability with a small footprint and is designed to be perfect for users of all heights and the solid grab handles ensure the trolley is very easy to move.

It includes natural ventilation meaning no heat build-up and no energy hungry cooling fans.

Its available in 3 sizes – 10 bay, 16 bay and 20 bay. The laptops are stored vertically within foam cushioned compartments for device protection.

The Loxit  LapBank TL is priced very competitively and is one of the cheapest all steel trolleys on the market.

Check out the LapBank TL trolley deals on our website

 

What IT equipment is proving popular in schools?

 We’ve been looking at trends of the most popular ICT equipment being bought by schools. There are some real winners that we’ve identified out there. Take a look at some of our top picks:

 HP 800 G1 All In One PCAll-in-One Computers

An extremely popular choice this year, the all-in-one PCs allow for a desktop computer and a separate monitor to become one unit. These high powered machines provide a full solution within one piece of equipment and save schools a great deal of space. This is especially true in buildings that were built before computer suites were ever dreamt of!

HP EliteDesk 800 G1 SFF refurbishedSmall Desktop PCs

These small but fast desktop computers are excellent workhorses for curriculum based work. Ranging from Core i3 systems through to more powerful Core i7 machines. Coupled with a new Solid State Drive, they really fly.  Our refurbished business PCs all come with a minimum warranty of 2 years.

Workstations

These workstations are extremely fast machines that feature Quad, Hex and Octa Core Intel Xeon E5 Processors and support huge amounts of RAM. These are ideal for CAD design, audio, graphic design and video editing applications. These are a more powerful and cost effective solution to the Apple alternatives.

Dell Latitude E5440 laptopCore i5 Laptops

Our refurbished Core i5 laptops are cost effective and mobile, with the ability to run Windows 10. They provide much more processing power than the tablet alternatives. All our laptops are Grade ‘A’ and a brand new Solid State Drive that really give them a turbo boost.

These are all highly reliable and very cost-effective choices on the part of schools. Better still, ICT Direct already deliver all the above solutions to schools throughout the UK, so why not contact us to see how we can help you?

 

Building the best PC for your Art/Graphics Departments without breaking the bank

Background

So here at ICT Direct we occasionally get offered kit that bucks the usual trends that we see throughout the year.  Every now and again we’ll be offered a container full of machines of a newer generation and a higher specification than anything we have had access to before.  Not only that but it usually comes in at such a low price that we have to re-evaluate our overall pricing structure.

Now the container in question here is full of HP Z Series workstations, specifically the lovely Z210.  This got me thinking about what role this machine could have in schools and colleges.

Marketed as an entry point into the professional design and 3D modelling world, the Z210 is considerably more powerful than its predecessor the Z200.
Whilst the Z200 shipped with a lowly Core i3 540 3.06GHz CPU, the Z210 comes with the powerful Xeon E3-1240 ‘Sandy-Bridge’ 3.3GHz CPU.

The arrival of this exceptional machine gave me the idea of putting together a bundle specifically for those departments which require a step up in performance.

 

Requirements

Expandability

Whilst modern computing can pack a lot of computing power into even the tiniest form factors these days, sometimes you just need a larger chassis.  Being able to add multiple storage drives, a dedicated graphics card, a card reader and possibly some PCE-e Flash storage goes a long way towards extending the lifetime of a PC.

Price

It goes without saying that refurbished hardware shouldn’t cost the same as new hardware.  To that end we need a control unit with a price and spec to compare our Z210 against.

My choice for this is the powerful HP EliteDesk 800 G1 SFF.  This is a top of the line HP desktop common throughout schools and businesses.  It is available online with 3 year warranty and 20” HP display for around £750

hp 800 g1
Comparison Unit Specification :

  •   Intel Core i5 4590 3.3GHz CPU
  •   4GB DDR3 RAM
  •   500GB HDD
  •   DVDRW
  •   Windows 7 Professional (through downgrade rights from 8.1 professional)
  • 3 years warranty

Graphics Workstation Wish list

In an ideal world your setup should something like this:

  • Powerful Desktop PC
  • Dedicated Professional Graphics Card
  • Large Monitor (22” plus)
  • High Precision Mouse
  • Specialist interface (3D Mouse/Tablet)
  • Software

 

Getting the best solution whilst spending as little as possible

In my previous blog post about building a recording PC on a lower budget than a brand new iMac I began with the guts of the system, the PC itself.  I’ll do the same here as it’s a logical beginning.

 HP Z210 workstation

Refurbished HP Z10 workstation: – £286 Ex VAT
http://www.ict-direct.co.uk/hp-z210-refurbished-workstation.html

  • Intel  Xeon E3-1240 Quad Core 3.30GHz Processor
  • 8GB DDR3 PC3-10600E ECC RAM
  • 120GB Solid State Drive – for OS and programs only
  • 1TB SATA HDD – for local storage of student projects
  • nVidia Quadro FX580 – Pro Graphics Graphics
  • DVD R/RW
  • Win 7 Professional
  • New Keyboard & Mouse
  • 3 Years Warranty

Built by HP this entry-level workstation class desktop sports an immense quad core Intel Xeon E3 processor and a respectable 8GB of RAM.  This is a class-leading system; despite being part of Intel’s Second Generation Architecture it still out performs many of the Intel 4th Generation CPUs (*).  Loading the operating system and all your programs onto the Solid State Drive will give another performance boost.

This setup will give you a machine that will be more than capable of running extensive tasks in the full range of Adobe Creative Suite software.  The large 8GB RAM, lightning-fast Solid State Drive, powerful Hyper-Threading Intel Xeon Processor and professional nVidia Graphics Card make for a PC ready to take on whatever you throw at it.

Next up, I looked for a screen.  Looking through the items I have in stock I’ve decided on the following screen.

Lenovo Thinkvision LT2252P 22” LED Monitor – £70
(http://www.ict-direct.co.uk/special-offers/lenovo-thinkvision-l2251p-brand-new-22-monitor-14003.html)

2251

Boasting a 22” widescreen panel with a 1680 x 1050 resolution you have plenty of real estate to work your artistic magic.This is a robust business-class monitor that is once again a class leader in its field. 

It also offers an impressive 16.7 million colours at an excellent 1000:1 contrast ratio.

spacepilot

One final piece of the puzzle is a nice 3d mouse or tablet & stylus.  For me, the 3DConnexion Space Pilot offers excellent value for money and superb control when being used as part of the creative process.

The 3Dconnexion SpacePilot connects you to the 3D design process like never before.

Its optical sensor technology and ergonomic design combine to deliver unprecedented control and fewer distractions.

So why buy new when you can have more for less? 

3DConnexion SpacePilot USB 3D mouse – £95 Ex VAT 

So what I the point of buying a brand new PC when you can get a better system, complete with monitor and special 3D mouse for far less than the cost of a single new unit?

Let’s do the Maths:

£750 - 286 - 70 95

= £299

Your total saving per system comes to £299!  You could get your school another desktop PC or a pair of laptops with the saving or you could divert the budget to another area that desperately needs funds.

* CPU Benchmark comparison 4590 vs E3-1240

CPU Bench mark

HP Z210 Workstation – ideal for schools

Z210Look what’s just landed in our  warehouse….

The HP Z210 Workstation.

They have an outstanding processor in the Intel Xeon E3-1240 – Quad Core 3.3Ghz. The E3 benchmarks at an amazing 8104 points – that  means it has i7 2600 performance with the value of a i5 2400:

Xeon E3 1240 benchmark


 

 

 

 

Coupled with a variety of options and HPs standard workstation reliability, its ideal for the rigours of school life.

Many of our workstation sales have been made to schools looking to improve their CAD, design and music suites. Massively undercutting the cost of Apple Mac solutions.

For £295 plus VAT, you get:

  • 1 x Xeon E3 1240
  • 8GB DDR3 ECC RAM
  • 120GB New SSD
  • Quaddro 3000 graphics card
  • Education: 2 year C&R warranty
  • New keyboard and Mouse

Find out more about the HP Z210

Introducing The Monarch TabCabby Trolleys and The Boost+

 Secure storage of ICT equipment is essential in any establishment, but is especially critical in schools.

 As the tablet and laptop market within schools continues to expand at a rapid rate,

Monarch, who are high quality specialist ICT storage manufacturers, have launched a brand new range of tablet storage products to fit in with the security requirements of schools.

These include redesigned trolleys, new desktop sync and charge storage and new portable mobile sync and charge units.

Features include:

  • Latest Cambrionix Sync & Charge units
  • Intelligent Charging – stops charging when tablets are fully charged
  • Future proof motherboard design for the Cambrionix
  • Compatibility with  iPad, Android and Microsoft tablets

The new product range includes:

TabCabby trolleys

They now have a much smaller footprint and are flexible enough to store iPads and tablets with or without cases. The new 32V also includes easy to use portable baskets. (link to more product info).

Monarch Deskcabby

New from Monarch the DeskCabby – Tablet storage

DeskCabby

A portable, stackable cabinet that stores, charges and syncs up to 12 tablets. Find out more…

 

 

Monarch Boost+

New from Monarch the Boost+ 16 port tablet Sync and Charge unit

Boost+

A portable unit that lets you plug in, charge and sync up to 16 tablets. Find out more…

 

 

 

TabCabby 32V Basket trolley

New from Monarch the TabCabby 32V Basket Trolley

TabCabby 32V Basket

Store & charge 32 tablets without cases or 20 tablets with cases. This also includes a Sync & Charge option with Boost+. Find out more…

 

 

TabCabby 16H

New from Monarch the smaller redesigned TabCabby 16H

TabCabby 16H Compact

Stores & charges 16 tablets with or without cases and has ergonomic design. Find out more…

 

 

TabCabby 32H Compact

New from Monarch the TabCabby 32H Compact Trolley

TabCabby 32H Compact

Stores & charges 32 tablets with or without cases. Find out more…

 

 

 

Monarch GoCabby

Monarch GoCabby

GoCabby

Stores, charges and synchronises16 tablets with or without cases and is ideal to transport to different sites. Find out more…
All of these come with a standard 2 year warranty and free delivery.

New Apple iPad Air 2 and Mini 3 – For Education

Apple have recently announced the arrival of the new Apple Air 2. Its thinner, 40% faster and has an  improved camera. It has three storage options: 16GB, 64GB, 128GB.

The launch of iPad Air 2 means that schools in the UK can benefit from cheaper pricing for the older but very capable iPad Air  (16GB  and 32GB Wifi models are available).

At the time of writing, we also have availability of the iPad 4 16GB Wifi .

 Also new to the range is the iPad Mini 3,  It is powered by an A7 chip and like its bigger brother is ships with iOS 8. The iPad Mini 3 has three storage options: 16GB, 64GB, 128GB.

We can supply schools with the iPad Mini 16GB and iPad Mini 2 (both 16GB and 32GB), with low educational pricing.

If you are a school looking for low priced iPads then call us on 01254 820980

New colour options for Loxit LapBank laptop trolleys.

Loxit Products have announced that they can supply coloured doors with all their high quality LapBank laptop trolley range.

loxit-lapbank-big

LapBank is a range of highly secure laptop trolleys, they are ideal for school and office environments.

Features include:

  • All welded steel frame with anti-jemmy bar design and full length piano hinges.
  • 2 x 7-lever mortise safe locks per door.
  • 130mm heavy duty rubberised swivel braked casters.
  • 5 Year RTB Warranty (1 Year Electrical).
  • FREE Delivery to mainland UK.

Models available: 8, 10, 16, 20, 24, 30 bays

Options include charging kits which intelligently charge the laptops and secure wall mount docking .

Standard grey colour LapBank trolleys start from  £549 plus VAT. Delivery is usually in 3-5 working days.

New Colour Options:

Loxit LapBank colur options

Available in: black, yellow, white, blue, green, orange, red

£35 per door. Because of the bespoke nature, deliver takes around 2 weeks.

ICT Direct also stock laptop and iPad storage from Isis, Monarch and Top Tec.

New partnership with Zioxi

We are delighted to announce that they are now working with Zioxi.

Zioxi plan, design and manufacture furniture to support and inspire learning and make your space work better for you.

Initially, we’ll supply the Zioxi laptop and iPad storage solutions which complement our existing range of laptop trolleys and mobile and static iPad charge and store products.

Zioxi laptop trolley features:

Isis laptop trolley from ICT Direct

  • Laptops are stored horizontally on shelves with  cut outs making access easy even for younger children, and only a short length of power lead is presented to each shelf.
  • The laptop power adapters are neatly stored in a separate electrical compartment, hidden by a removable metal panel accessible from the front of the trolley.
  • Sequential start power management to prevent fuse and circuit breaker issues on start up is fitted as standard.
  • The Zioxi Laptop Charging trolley has lockable doors which fold back 270 degrees for easy access.

Isis iPad/Tablet storage features:

Isis ipad storage trolley from ICT Direct

  • Space on a top shelf for your laptop or wireless access point.
  • Handle cut outs to help you steer if you want to move them. The Zioxi iPad cart accommodates iPads and other Tablet devices in most cover and case designs.
  • Only a short length of USB cable is presented to each shelf keeping the cabinet neat & tidy.
  • Doors fold back 270 degrees for easy access. Small, compact enclosure with lockable doors and on lockable castors.

Apple iPad 2 – last orders 31 March 2014

From 31st March, Apple will stop shipping the iPad 2 16GB Wifi to schools. The iPad 2 will be superceded by the 4th Generation iPad with Retina Display 16GB Wifi. We’ll be supplying this improved model at the same educational price at the iPad 2.

Here’s the specification:

  • Apple A6X 1.4GHz processor
  • Storage: 16GB
  • Wifi: 802.11n
  • Weight: 652g
  • 9.7″ screen at 2,048 x 1,536
  • Apple A6X Graphics Processor
  • 12 months Apple warranty

Protect your iPad with rugged protective cases that can be etched with your school logo and secure iPad storage.

Call us for the latest educational discounts on Apple hardware.