The CIS computer lab on the first floor at Decatur campus has over 100 computers. Looking closely, we can see a familiar logo on the front of every computer that says "Intel Inside, Pentium II." Even though Pentium II computers are on the market for over 4 years, they are still fairly fast computers. Many schools and businesses are still using them for their everyday operation, so it is not unusual to see Pentium II computers at the school computer labs. What unusual about the computers in the CIS lab is that they are extremely slow, not a characteristic of typical Pentium II computers.

There are numerous complaints as well as suggestions from students in the last few years on how to fix the problem but the problem has not been corrected yet. I don't know when the problem begins, but the first time I used the computers in CIS lab was about 2 years ago. The computers were very slow then, but it is not as slow as today. In many cases, it takes 10 minutes or more to start up Windows. Opening a new application or switching between applications usually takes more than a minute. Fifteen minutes break is sometimes not enough for a student to print out his / her lab assignment or to check his / her email.

Students are trying to work around this inconvenience by looking for faster computers in other labs such as the ASC Business lab across the hall but these labs are, not surprisingly, always crowded. There are complicated, and sometimes, conflicting explanations from the lab technicians why the computers are so slow, even though they know the fact that each computer only has 32 megabytes of memory (RAM), which is well below the standard 128 megabytes of RAM found on a typical Pentium II computer. There are 2 solutions to solve this "minor" but annoying problem: a cost-effective, short-term solution; and a more complete, long-term solution. A temporary and cost effective solution involves adding more memory to each of computers in the lab. A Pentium II is still a popular computer, which can run most of the applications used by the students.

However, in order to have good performance, these computers need more memory than the existing 32 megabytes of memory. The retailed price of 128 megabytes of a memory module is about $20 - 10 times cheaper than the same memory module purchased 2 years ago. The total cost of upgrading 125 computers in CIS lab will be around $2500, which is less than one semester's tuition of a full-time student. Upgrading the memory will only keep the computers running for one or two more years. After a couple of years all the computers in the lab need to be replaced with faster computers such as the Pentium IV models. It will cost a lot of money, but it is a good investment.

In order to compete with other Colleges and Universities in the region, the school need to not only maintain an excellence teaching quality but they also need to keep an eye on the aging equipments and replacing them when necessary. Wasting a few minutes in the lab starring at the computer screen is annoying, but it is not a big problem; we " ve got used to it. However, the school's administrators should look into this problem seriously because problem like this hurts the school's image - "a technological institute with state-of-the-art equipments", as said in one of the school's commercial we " ve all seen on local channels. Many students, including myself, have expressed our concern to the school's administrator a couple of years ago.

Today, the problem still hasn't been resolved yet.