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Notebook versus desktop computers for cadets at West Point

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3 Author(s)
Loy, J.R. ; US Mil. Acad., West Point, NY, USA ; Myers, J.D. ; Tappert, C.C.

Some universities require or recommend that their students purchase personal computers, and the trend is toward using the portable notebook variety. West Point cadets (students) are currently issued late-model, IBM-compatible desktop PCs on matriculation, and this study investigated the feasibility and desirability of issuing notebook computers to future incoming classes. As a pilot comparison, one classroom group of 18 students taking introductory courses in computers and mathematics was given notebook computers for one semester in place of their desktops. An additional 12 notebooks were evaluated to assess specialized technical features. The principal findings were that, at a constant dollar cost, notebook and desktop computers differ in computational power, durability, and ease of use. West Point concluded that they cannot move to notebook computers for incoming students until notebook durability (maturity of technology) is reasonable and until the disparity between the computational capability of comparably priced notebooks and desktops reaches an acceptable limit. They now see the technology maturing rapidly and are likely to move to notebook computers within three years

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Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:39 ,  Issue: 4 )