Cheap desktop computer in 19" rack-mountable form-factor?

Posted by Alex Basson on Super User See other posts from Super User or by Alex Basson
Published on 2009-11-19T12:03:41Z Indexed on 2010/04/17 21:13 UTC
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I'm a high school teacher at a small private school. As of this year, we have SMARTBoards in every classroom (though I've had one in the class I share for two years now). The classrooms themselves don't have computers in them, so we teachers bring our laptops to class and connect them to the boards. This has several disadvantages:

  1. This takes a few minutes while we wait for the board to boot up and then orient the board to our individual laptop -- we have to do this every time b/c different teachers have different laptops requiring different orientations. This isn't ideal because when you only have 43 minutes per class period, waiting five minutes just to get started is a real waste.
  2. Carrying your laptop to class doesn't sound so bad until you consider that we're also carrying textbooks and piles of student papers, and we're carrying it all through crowded high school hallways. More than one laptop has fallen THUNK to the floor, with dire consequences.

We feel we could eliminate the need to use our laptops with the SMARTBoards if we had a dedicated computer in each classroom hooked up to the board at all times. Each board set-up is connected to a podium with a standard 19" rack in it, currently housing a power supply and DVD player. There're plenty of rack spaces available.

So I'm thinking: maybe we could get some inexpensive computers in a 19" rack-mountable form factor, install them in the podiums, and connect them to the boards on a permanent basis. Any suggestions?

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