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Used N-Class 3000s vary in price

A couple of months ago we reported on a re-boot of a migration plan at Washington state community colleges. A 3000 software vendor commented in the story that a used N-Class might be a smarter way to put a modern face on a system than a full migration. The vendor triggered some dispute with a claim about N-Class pricing, however.

John Ryrie of TAG Computing, a UK-based supplier of 3000 utility software, said that the N-Class could be purchased for "as little as $4,000." The claim, which we recently printed in our May 3000 NewsWire, drew this retort from broker Genisys' VP of Sales/Marketing Robert Gordon:

I would like to order 15 of the HP 3000 N-Class servers today that you mentioned in your article. When can I expect delivery of the machines? I am more than happy to pay the $4,000 per machine you quoted in your article. Where did you get your pricing from? When you put this in print, it is a disservice to the HP broker community.

Gordon makes a good point. Prices for the N-Class servers are not uniform at all. The N-Class offer Ryrie mentioned was the lowest price we've ever seen in the broker community for an N-Class. To be sure, there are not anywhere close to 15 machines available at that price.

This doesn't make the $4,000 price a fake, but people who want to stay with the HP 3000 will usually quote the lowest system cost they've ever seen to bolster an argument. The other thing that homesteaders will do ā€” just as 3000 owners have always done ā€” is use a low-ball price to negotiate a better price elsewhere.

Negotiations often carry an uncertain outcome, and pricing for used 3000s remains in a wide range. The N-Class is priced higher than $4,000, sometimes a lot higher. The $4,000 offer was on the very bottom of the N-Class line, if memory serves. Upgrading to this bottom model could be a substantial upgrade from a Series 9x8. Or it could be just a speed bump up to hardware built in the current century, but not much faster.

I don't mean to mislead anyone about how much an N-Class will cost, but those who are shopping and can find such a gem also find the prices vary. Perhaps they vary quite a bit from $4,000, although it's hard to say unless you're ready to purchase. That's usually when the price can be quoted for any available systems. It's standard practice in the used business system market to keep pricing a matter of negotiations, rather than published like the cost of a Blu-Ray DVD player.

But I believe that whatever the price, a comment like Ryrie's helps to promote used 3000 system sales ā€” as an alternative migrations. You will want to watch for the phrase "as little as." That's buyer-beware behavior that works for DVD players as well as HP 3000s.