Final cost difference between Chromebooks and Windows?


The school system where my kids go are talking about adding a large number of Chromebooks to replace older Windows computers. The expectation is that it will be cheaper in the long run but some questions have been raised due to large investment that is going to be needed to the network infrastructure to support so many Chromebooks vs Windows laptops. Some other have argued that the actual cost of the Chromebooks is not significantly less that similar Windows laptops. It sounds like the management of Chromebooks would be easy and cost-effective vs Windows computers though.
I spent a good chunk of the night searching the internet for answers but was having a hard time coming up with what I was looking for. Can anyone here shed some light on this or point me to some links where the cost differences have been explained?

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  1. 1 | Reply
    a113e21 - 3 days ago

    The cost savings for Chromebooks is based upon having to manage the devices less.  Chromebooks don't have the same management overhead that comes with Windows devices.  Nor do Chromebooks require as many IT people to keep the same number of Windows devices up and running.

    Chromebooks don't have any software installed on them and they rarely needed to be wiped and reloaded to solve issues.  Chromebooks also don't require anti-virus software.  Chromebooks are more secure by default.

    But, becasue everything on the Chromebook is done online, a sufficient wireless network and Internet conenction would be required.

  2. 0 | Reply
    maethorechannen Alpha Member #377 - 3 days ago

    Is there some difference between how the children will use the Chromebooks compared to how they use Windows laptops? Because if they're only going to be using web based tools then I don't see how CBs would need a beefier network than an identical number of Windows machines. If anything, it would probably be slightly less heavy overall on the network than Windows. 

    1. 0 | Reply
      Sprtfan Alpha Member #153 - 3 days ago
      In reply to maethorechannen:

      From the info I was given it would be a lot higher network traffic.  Document, picture, photo manipulation and creation could be done locally on the Windows machine but would not be on the Chromebook.  This was an example that was given at least.  I honestly really don't know though and is the reason I was looking for more info.  

    2. 0 | Reply
      Markus_Mobius - 3 days ago
      In reply to Sprtfan:

      Chromebooks are usually used together with GAFE (Google Apps for Education). They could also be used together with Office Online.

      When you load a document in Google Docs or Office Online the word editor is loaded from the cloud into the browser (only the basic program - other modules are loaded as needed; the basic program might be 1MB or so large and hence will know quickly if the internet connection is good - otherwise it might take a few seconds). After its loaded once, the files (Javascript mostly) are cached for a while. The same is true for documents - when they are loaded for the first time then they are downloaded from the cloud - subsequent loads might use the local cache. However, the document file size is usually small compared to the actual editing program (however, that doesn't change much from day to day - so caching is more effective for the latter).

      The advantage from a management point of view is that there is no need to keep the word editor up to date. Moreover, documents are loaded from the cloud as needed - so there is no need to wipe or backup devices. They can also be easily shared between students.

      Thw downside is that working with an uncached existing document (for example the student worked at home and now wants to show to teacher) requires a reasonable internet connection. So in that sense a working connection is more important to Chromebooks than Windows laptops.

      For schools this downside is small: kids usually stay inside the building (no traveling salesforce with sometimes spotty internet) and network infrastructure doesn't fail much (unlike hard drives, server backup systems etc).

    3. 0 | Reply
      Sprtfan Alpha Member #153 - 3 days ago
      In reply to Markus_Mobius:

      Thanks for the info.  The Chromebooks disscusion was only a small part of the meeting I went to the and the people that would be in charge of deploying them were not there so it was hard to get any real answers.  It very well could be the network infrastructure just needs to be upgraded but it was tied to the Chromebooks when presented.  I could probably contact the district about it but was just curious more than anything and was a little surprised that I had trouble finding the info I was looking for. 

    4. 0 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #1159 - 3 days ago

      In reply to Sprtfan:

      Web apps don't download entire applications to local machines every time they're run. Chrome OS caches client portions of commonly used web apps, so they're not downloaded on every use. Many web apps can fetch user files stored in the cloud directly, e.g., Pixlr would access Google Drive directly rather than download from Google Drive to Chromebook then upload from Chromebook to Pixlr (and the reverse when saving).