The computer lab is one of the most powerful tools at a student's disposal. It's also a limited commodity, which will become apparent as essay season rolls around. To help you in your computer crusade, we have compiled information on four of the largest campus labs with full student access.
The Info Commons is the powerhouse of the campus computer labs. It's got the fastest connection to the Internet, cheap printing and a central location in the library. The best part is it's open 24 hours Sun.-Thurs., which comes in handy for those essay all-nighters (most pizza houses will deliver there). Unfortunately, this lab has trouble meeting its high demand, despite the large capacity. There will almost always be a line from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. during a normal week and will be packed the entire day (and sometimes at night) during mid-terms and finals. Its Internet connection slows to a crawl during the day.
Capacity: 250 Pentium II 400 megahertz machines
Printing: five cents per page
Internet Speed: 40 megabits per second (day), 600 Mbps (evening)
Open Hours: 24 hours Sun.-Thurs., regular library hours Fri.-Sat.
Thanks to its prime location between ST 140 and ST 148, the Elbow Room is sometimes in greater demand than the Info Commons. The whole lab has recently been upgraded and has the unique feature of free printing (albeit on only two computers). Because of its location, it's packed between classes (i.e., from 1:50-2 p.m.) and sometimes during classes when the midterm/final crunch hits.
Capacity: 55 Pentium III 450 megahertz machines
Internet Speed: 250 Mbps
Open Hours: 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 1 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun.
TRI Microcomputer Lab (SS 018)
The Tri-faculties lab was the one to beat before the Info Commons raised the bar. Since then many have forgotten it even exists, despite its impressive capacity. Interestingly the lab has some of the fastest computers on campus next to the slowest you've ever seen. Unfortunately, the best machines are often booked for classes, but the slower computers are usually free, even during the worst of times.
Capacity: 75 Pentium III 450 megahertz machines, 70 486 66DX2 machines
Printing: 10 cents per page
Internet Speed: 200 Mbps
Open Hours: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Sat., 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun.
Scurfield Hall (SH 183, SH 105, SH 116)
About as far away as you can get from anything, the Scurfield Hall labs are still worth mentioning. The combined capacities of the labs rival the Tri-faculties lab, however, the smaller two are often booked for classes. The main advantage of these labs is t he great convenience to those who spend most of their time in SH or Education. There are usually computers free during a normal week, but this lab has the longest lines of any lab during exams because of the specialized software used by management students.
Capacity: 57 (SH 183), 39 (SH 105), 32 (SH 116) Pentium II 350 megahertz machines
Printing: $3 for 20 pages or $5 for 50 pages (using punch-cards)
Internet Speed: 40 Mbps (day), 100 Mbps (night)
Open Hours: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat.-Sun.
Besides these major players, there are many smaller, almost cult-status labs known only to a select few. Stay tuned for further reports on these underdogs. If you know a public-access lab worth mentioning, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Note: Internet speeds are highly variable. The averages listed oversimplify connection speed, but are useful for measuring relative download rates.