Computer Design Challenge

Article by Nicole Blahut (Q20) and Daniel-Jason Minzie (Q20)

Every year, BMGT190H students are expected to design and build a computer in their teams with a $500 budget constraint and the typical QUEST student in mind as a customer. With the exception of a few students, most had never built a computer before, but teams were still excited and ready to begin the challenge.

Initial disappointment came when students learned that, unlike in previous years, no team would win and have their design built in the QUEST lab. Instead, teams would collaborate with other teams to reach a decision. While an unpopular decision at first, it proved to be successful when two super computers were chosen and built. This method of negotiation and collaboration ensured that the best of every aspect of the computer was picked. During this process, after presentations, team members had to convince other students why the final computer should have their part over the other parts. This required that students know a lot about each part. It also took emphasis away from the flashy presentations and directed focus to selecting quality parts themselves.

The two computers that now reside in the QUEST lab are anything but ordinary. Both equipped with Solid State Drives, they are built for speed. The defining feature for both of them, however, is in the monitors. Venti Vidi Vici, a play on the popular phrase replacing ‘veni’ with the Italian word for ‘20’, has a touch screen monitor. And Q20 Twins, as the name implies, features dual monitors. Cohort 20 certainly made it their mission to stand out in the lab. As a technology enthusiast, Cohort 20 student Kenny Lopez took it upon himself to install the new Windows 8 operating system onto the two computers. With the software made for touch capabilities, this was a great choice for the touch screen computer.

Kenny Lopez (Q20) poses with the QUEST lab’s newest computers.

Students took a lot away from this project. Here are just a few testimonials from Cohort 20 on the computer design challenge:

“I never expected I would ever be able to design a computer.” -Ethan Schindel

“I found it great working on a team and witnessing different types of people coming together with different ideas to make the most amazing computer QUEST has ever seen!” –Mickey Alemayehu

“I enjoyed the chance to collaborate and negotiate with other teams to create a product that was not only unique, but representative of the entire cohort.” –Michael Shindledecker

“I learned a lot about the parts of a computer, which I never expected to learn since I am an OM major.” –Rachel Brown

And finally a quote from Winston Liu that encompasses how EVERYONE felt after the design challenge:

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