While it was never formally announced we are back in the hardware business. To this extent we can provide desktop computers, file servers, printers and various networking components and peripherals, but only to our Libra software clients. We currently recommend primarily Dell and Hewlett Packard products as these seem to combine both good quality and reasonable pricing.


Dell has a particularly good deal on their 300 Series Server line. An 800 Mhz Pentium III Server with 128 Mb of Ram and 10Gb Disk

Is currently under $1400.00, monitor extra.


This makes an excellent Novell 3.x Server

And we have installed it at several of our clients with good results. Boosting the power of the Server is a good way to increase the overall throughput capacity of your network.


In conjunction with a server upgrade, clients may want to consider an upgrade to fast ethernet switches and network cards. These new model smart switches and cards offer increased performance, particularly under heavy database loads, created when running large Libra reports, postings and the like.


D-Link has an excellent 16 Port Smart Switch for about $400. Good quality high-speed ethernet network cards go for about $40.


Costs to install a new File Server run about $600. This includes the installation of Novell Netware version 3.x, the backup and restore of Libra and other user files and the setup of user security and shared printer access. The cost to convert to high-speed ethernet would include the cost of the hub, network cards and installation / configuration. This generally works out to about $40 labour per computer on the network. Cabling may need to be upgraded to at least Category V levels.




Both Dell and Hewlett Packard have in recent months offered complete computer systems in the 700-800 Mhz range complete with 15 monitors for $1000. or less. If you are beginning to have problems with older computers or they are just too slow to keep up, one of these packages can offer some relief at a reasonable cost. You can save some money by using your existing monitor but the cost reduction is low enough to warrant keeping the extra monitor as a spare.


Hewlett Packard has long been renowned for their Laser Printers. In fact, they sell more printers than all other manufacturers combined. If they had a weakness it was in their low end series where the 5L, 6L and 1100 series were not their best performers. These printers in the under $600 range had some vertical paper feed problems at times.


To remedy this Hewlett Packard just released the new 1200 Series printer at $675. This printer is fast at 15 pages per minute and uses the superior horizontal paper feed combined with an excellent manual feed.


For clients concerned with backup strategies we recommend both Iomega ZIP Drives and newer model CD-Writers as good backup devices. Zip & Jazz Drives use removable hard disk technologies for excellent performance. The only downside to these technologies is the cost of the media.


CD-Writers, on the other hand, can provide quick backups on very inexpensive media that can easily be archived or transferred to other computers with a standard CD-Rom drive. They can also make backup copies of CDs and custom music CDs with the aid of the internet and an MP3 file converter.