For its fourth anniversary, the TECH Center installed 27-inch Macs, as well as other upgrades.
This year, the TECH Center celebrates its fourth anniversary with widespread changes and upgrades, including 100 new 27-inch Mac computers and the proposed replacement of 400 to 500 PCs.
“When the TECH Center opened, everything was brand new. Now that it’s been around for a while, people just kind of accept that it’s there. We try to keep it new with new features,” Executive Director of Computer Services Jerry Hinkle said.
Sandip Patel, a lab manager at the TECH Center, said the new Macs are equipped with a 2.66 GHz processor and four gigabytes of RAM.
“I like how big they are,” sophomore pre-nursing major Lauren Fernald said. “It’s easier to catch mistakes when writing papers.”
Sophomore communications major Stephenie Foster agreed.
“It’s nice for paper-writing. You can put different documents side by side to do work rather than go back and forth,” she said.
“One thing I’ve noticed is the login speed is a lot faster. The old ones used to take three to five minutes to start, but these only take 30 seconds,” university studies sophomore Pete Lundy said.
“You need more memory to process faster,” he added.
Hinkle said the cost for the Mac computers, which have additional memory and high-end processors, was about $1,700 per unit.
“This is several hundred dollars per unit less than we paid for the original iMacs four years ago,” he added.
The old computers were sent to Temple’s Computer Recycling Center.
“Our goal is to take old computer equipment, clean off all information and get them back into circulation,” CRC employee Jonathan Latko said.
When the computers go back into circulation, they end up in one of three places – they can be redeployed to other schools and buildings across campus, students and faculty can buy them, or they are donated to local schools, community groups and nonprofit organizations.
For students and faculty interested in buying refurbished equipment from the CRC, the price of a computer depends on the amount of restoration it underwent, Latko said.
“It’s about a $25 base, but the more work or specialty added brings it up to about $150 to $175,” he said.
The TECH Center also plans to replace as many as 500 PCs.
“[Replacing the PCs] would definitely help, because [they] are a lot slower, especially when it’s busy,” senior computer science major David Lebson said.
Students waiting for the upgraded PCs will have to wait, though, as the TECH Center employees search for the best deals.
“Because we got very good pricing on our Macs at this time of the year, we have delayed the purchase of the Dells by about six months and will be installing them over the summer,” Hinkle said.
Much like a business, the TECH Center tries to find what people want when they use the facility. Employees survey students every spring in an attempt to find out who uses what, how often and what changes students would like to see.
Breakout rooms and other space for students to work together are some of the reasons students spend time at the TECH Center. Soon, the TECH Center will introduce “open-air booths.” These rooms will be built where the current upstairs lobby area is now.
“Students [will be able to] come in, sit down and eat, while working together on a computer,” Hinkle said.
It seems many Main Campus students will welcome the addition of open-air booths to the TECH Center.
“Breakout rooms should be designed to let students make noise. [The open-air booths] would probably encourage more students to come out, and it would be a great expansion,” Michael Ashery, a freshman university studies major, said.
“With the comfy chairs, I can definitely see an advantage [of the open-air booths] over [the breakout] rooms,” sophomore film major Zachary Auron said.
Another useful tool for students is the map of the TECH Center on the plasma TV screens upstairs, which indicate the availability of different sections in the TECH Center. An improved version of this tool will soon be available online.
“That way,” Hinkle said, “if you’re on the subway [or] in your room and you want an idea of how busy the TECH Center is, you’ll be able to check your phone or the Internet to get an idea.”
Lara Taylor Strayer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.