More than 180 computers in the Manuel T. Pacheco Integrated Learning Center Information Commons will be replaced by the end of November after more than two and a half years of near-constant use.
The new Gateway E 4100-C computers, which each cost $1,712, are two-thirds of the total number of computers in the ILC that will replace the older models, said Karen Williams, team leader of undergraduate services at the Main Library.
The remaining computers will be replaced next year.
"So many times we get new buildings and nobody thinks of refreshment and technology," Williams said.
With ILC funding, all of the computers in the Information Commons are to be replaced every three years, Williams said.
Because the Information Commons is open 24 hours, the computers get a lot of use, said Adele Edwards, systems planning and development coordinator for the Digital Library & Information Systems Team.
"The Integrated Learning Center made a commitment to the students that we would continue to have software (and) hardware that meets their needs," Edwards said. "So, after three years of constant use, they need to be replaced with faster computers with different hardware."
Each new computer has a CD and DVD burner, among other features, Edwards said.
"We souped it up to meet the needs of the students," Edwards said.
The computers were purchased by the UA at a discounted price, so Edwards said students cannot receive comparable computer at the same price.
"If you're going to buy a single system, you're going to pay more for it," said Jose Noriega, support systems analyst principal in the learning technologies department. "That's just the way it works."
Joel Ruiz, a molecular biology senior, said he noticed how much nicer the new computers look.
"They're better than the older ones," he said. "The keyboards are, at least."
Some of the buttons on the older keyboards would get stuck, Ruiz said.
Although Ruiz did not think the new computers are faster than the older models, he said he finds the DVD burner intriguing.
Megan Moss, a speech and hearing sciences sophomore, said the new black and silver color scheme of the new computers caught her attention last week.
"I think they're a little faster," Moss said about the new computers.
Moss said she does not use many of the computers' functions, but might take advantage of the DVD burner.
"I don't have that on my computer," she said.
Technicians began replacing computers in the Information Commons on Wednesday, Oct. 6 and expect to have all 180 replaced by the end of November.
With the replacement of six to 12 computers a day, Edwards said the computers are swapped early in the morning to minimize disruption for students.
"We're only doing a table or two at a time so that it doesn't have a large impact on the students as opposed to shutting down the entire ILC for a day or two," Edwards said. "We're trying to get them in a way that doesn't cause issues with students because we know how popular the computers are."
All the computers in the ILC classrooms and two-thirds of the Macintosh computers and scanners in the Information Commons were also replaced over the summer, Edwards said.
The older computers will be deployed in other computer labs across campus managed by Office of Student Computing Resources, a newly established department that helps students, faculty and staff with technology education, Williams said.
"They're good computers so everybody's really excited about getting them," Noriega said. "They're only three years old, so they're in good shape."
The older computers will also be placed in older terminals throughout the Main Library at e-mail stations and quick lookup terminals Williams said.
Edwards said all hardware in the ILC will be completely replaced by Jan. 2006.