Minnesota School of Business-Blaine information technology students recently had the chance to configure computer systems from the circuit board up during a field trip for their Computer Essentials class with John Daley.
The field trip was conducted at Micro Center in St. Louis Park. The company offers computer products, services and repair.
Daley, information technology program chair at MSB-Blaine, assigned the class a task of configuring three different computer systems (at different price points) for a specified user.
It was a balancing act for the students—getting the right type of system at a certain price point.
Students had to select motherboards, CPU, RAM and other components to give the imaginary user the best performance package for their money.
Students learned the necessity of matching graphics cards with discrete video memory with a power supply that could handle the necessary wattage, along with dealing with CPU cooling requirements and internal fan configuration.
They also discovered how difficult it is to maximize performance at a fixed price point: the least expensive system required a full PC with flat-screen display and color printer, all for only $700 (not counting operating system and tax).
While at Micro Center, students also observed 3D printers both in action and for sale.
Daley said he was surprised to see consumer-level 3D printers on sale for less than $500, although the more capable printers being demonstrated cost closer to $2,000.