Bringing a self-built desktop with me?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by go4bacon, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. go4bacon

    go4bacon Member

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    I'm sure this question has been asked, but the clunky search interface of the forum is killing me.

    I am looking into building a very capable gaming PC, and I am wondering what regulations the academy puts on cadets regarding the bringing their own computers.

    If I am, in fact allowed to bring my own computer (obviously after beast), what regulations must that computer comply with (i.e. monitor size, external speakers, case dimensions, etc.).

    I understand that the academy issues cadets capable laptops, so would you even recommend bothering with another computer?
     
  2. skt

    skt Member

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    You will not initially be allowed to use your own computer. It's possible you'll allowed to do so after Recognition (March of your 4 degree year); someone who has been around longer will have to answer that. My son is still in his first year, so I'm not yet sure what all changes after recognition. Whether or not you can bring a separate monitor from the beginning will depend on your squadron; I think most allow it.
     
  3. kdc246

    kdc246 Member

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    My DD took her Mac book and left it at her sponsor's house for most of her 4 dig year. After Spring break she took it back to the Academy. Sporadically she will leave it at home, but always regret doing so. I think because she is so integrated into the Mac's, she prefers them. She does all of her homework however on her government issued PC laptop. Funny thing though. Her 5 year old Mac book runs faster than her school laptop. They have those laptops so loaded with programs that they just aren't very efficient.
    As far as a desktop that might be tricky for a number of reasons. First it will be after recognition that you can have it, if they allow you to have it. The monitor you maybe able to have after Acceptance day, but check with your squadron first as some have size limitations. Second during the summer months you move frequently, every three weeks. Then when you have summer leave all of your belongings go into storage. I am not sure how secure storage is, but IMO I wouldn't leave a computer there unattended. Things have gone missing. They have a number of construction/non-military people in the dorms at any given time. I think you just need to be aware, it is much like any dorm situation. You may be able to store the computer at your Sponsor's house during the summer, but be sure to ask in advance of bringing it....they may not have the room. You could always rent a storage unit off campus, but then car access becomes an issue until your 2 dig year.
     
  4. HNeedle

    HNeedle Member

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    I built my own computer after recognition (march) of freshman year. You really won't have any reason to use it before then since games/music/media are prohibited, so it's pointless to have it before. You can have your own monitor (up to 24") and speakers, but again you won't need your speakers until march. There's no requirement for case size, just hasta fit on/near your desk.

    Dont forget, you technically can't plug it in to the Academy's network; even if you did, you cant do any online gaming with it like Call of Duty. So if your folks wanna get you a wireless card or something, that might help. There are also ways to get civilian internet (comcast maybe?) in your room, and i know someone that has it, but i dunno the process for it. hope this helps
     
  5. NathanIsaacs

    NathanIsaacs Member

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    Even if you are allowed to bring your own computer to the Academy I would not recommend it because you should be focused on your education and military training, not silly video games.
     
  6. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    My son had me bring one he'd built around October when we met up with him at an away football game. He had to get it cleared (also a Mac) to be able to use it on the academy network, which took a couple weeks until someone got around to it, but he was fine with using it even that early in freshman year. This year he ordered all the parts (yes, he's a Comp Engr major) and built an extremely powerful computer primarily (okay, only!) for gaming. He's in the top 10% percent of his class so it doesn't seem to be hurting him too much! :wink:
     
  7. dohdean

    dohdean Member

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    As for summer storage of your monitor, printer, etc. you will be issued a small storage area which you can lock by putting on a personal lock. My daughter has stored her extra uniforms, refrigerator, monitor and printer the last 2 summers during her 3-6 weeks away from the Academy. There have been thefts -- from classrooms, dorm rooms, storage area, like at any college -- but she has been lucky and has not lost anything. You do not have to ship or store all of your stuff somewhere else when you are on summer Ops or leave but having renter's insurance (available to you for protection of your Academy issued laptop) is a good idea -- as it would be at any college.
     
  8. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Yes, you can get it on the Academy's network, but there are going to be a lot of restrictions due to that. I know several techie guys who had custom built PCs at USAFA. One had as much storage on his machine as the entire cadet shared drive!

    Now, I completely agree that there is no point to a 2nd PC before Recognition (I'd say it might bring too much attention beforehand). I would wait until the fall before you worry about it, at the earliest.
     
  9. Texasrocks

    Texasrocks Member

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    here is what 2016 gets per the intructions to apointees :

    Fujitsu model T5010 tablet computer
    Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 (2.4GHz)
    IntelGM 45 chipset
    4GB memory (DDR3 SDRAM)
    120GB Hard Drive
    13.3” XGA 1280x800 LCD with active digitizer
    DVD+/-RW
    Port replicator with 2nd power charger
    Integrated Smart Card Reader
    Second drive-bay battery
    Integrated10/100/1000 Ethernet
    Wireless 802.11a/g/n
    External Mouse and Keyboard
    4 year parts-only warranty (includes batteries)
     
  10. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    I feel like USAFA just really hates cadets when I look at the comp specs. If they were wise they would get an i5 chipset and a larger hard drive. That Duo is not going to survive 4 years. :thumbdown:

    My RAND computer has an i7 in it. I'm at 1.5 years of owning it and it is STILL running as fast as it did on day one. That's including the government/RAND bloatware security crap! My home PC that I built is an i7 build and that thing hasn't skipped a beat since I built it a year ago.

    These USAFA laptops are such crap!

    *RANT OFF*
     
  11. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Well, hopefully they don't die off as fast as the dreaded 2010 Gateways!
     
  12. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    These computers came out over 3 years ago. Just a bit dated. I wonder where they even found 1,100 of them.
     
  13. pn298ab

    pn298ab Member

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    With all the software they put on the laptops, they become pretty bad. With my issued laptop, I can turn it on, go to the bathroom, come back, and windows will still be loading. I'll punch in the log in info, take a coffee break, and still be waiting. But seriously, I timed it, 5 mins, from off to a webpage.

    Got pissed off, bought myself my own laptop -- VAIO z-series... 30s start up, and much faster overall.

    Officially, computers are supposed to be registered to the network in order to use it.
     
  14. ChickenHawk

    ChickenHawk New Member

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    Bring the PC if you want... I bought my own Mac mini and a 2tb drive for saving personal files and watching videos on. You can have up to a 24" monitor as a freshmen but some people get projectors. Projectors are officially allowed or discouraged so far as I'm aware so I'd probably ask your chain before getting one.

    As for the laptops-

    The class of 2015 got pretty good computers, they are definitely much faster than 2014's. Once they are up and running though, you don't need a whole lot of processing speed. Internet and word documents don't use too much power.
     
  15. HeWantsTheBFE

    HeWantsTheBFE USAFA Class of 2017

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    computers in general

    Just in general, how is the internet speeds?

    IK that the USNA (I think?) has their internet wired in from USAFA. Or was it USMA? Either way, that's ~9k people during the nighttime study hours using the same connection. How good/bad is it?

    Also, can anyone elaborate on getting the computer cleared for use on the USAFA network? It may be something I look into.

    I build my own PC's, and by the time recognition rolls around my computer will be due for a rebuild. Boot time is still great, but the Athalon II 640 just doesn't cut it. DDR2 RAM, too.

    I spent hundreds of hours fixing computers for a volunteer program, it has made me a bona-fide expert in computer hardware, repair, and refit. I helped a friend build a 2500 dollar gaming PC in under 20 minutes. Great fun.

    Judging by this thread, It will be a skill that is, shall we say, in demand.
     
  16. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    I am pretty sure you would just twiddle your fingers and read books your entire four years huh?

    2500 for a gaming computer is pretty pricey. I could build a dual monitor, GTX Nvidia, couple terabyte HD, i5 (maybe i7) not an AMD processor fan, 8gig DDR3+, etc etc for around 1500.

    Haha yeah your comp is due for an overhaul!

    For lurkers: NEVER get a Mac, overpriced and useless for gaming.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  17. afa

    afa Member

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    so in essence, say someone speculates going to the academy, will they be able to get a macbook pro registered to the USAFA network once they are allowed to have their own personal laptop?
     
  18. kdc246

    kdc246 Member

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    It is doubtful that anything but the issued computers will be able to be used on the government network. They really tightened things up last semester. So much so that when I replied to this thread back in 2011-2012, DD was able to use her macbook, but since Christmas has left it at home since she is unable to access the network. They took away any routers that were connected to the GOV network and have increased security. I guess if you wanted to put all of their security software on another computer at your expense they may allow that, but no guarantees. The network at the best of times is slow. They are supposed to be bringing on a private ISP to help and the cadets are paying for it, but to date I don't think there has been much progress in internet speeds or being dumped of the network randomly.
     
  19. burnerafter16

    burnerafter16 Member

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    We were told that even flash drives were not allowed because of all the security risks. Hold off until you find out what your squadron allows. If Moore's law still applies, the computer you build now will be slow by the time they let you have it(that's if..they even let you)
     
  20. Bourdeau

    Bourdeau Member

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    Coming from the POV of being an enlisted Comm guy, I can shed some light on why such things aren't allowed on the network.
    They pose a security risk, as in they can be a point of entrance for enemy hackers, like in recent news how the Chinese are mass hacking the United States corporations and DoD networks.

    I happen to have a friend who is in the Comm Sq there, and they go war driving for rogue access points (Routers, Modems, etc).
    And anytime you plug in something not allowed on the network, it sends a little flag to the Comm guys. They have a pretty hefty amount of game systems and routers they confiscated according to my friend :shake:.

    Tl;dr It's better to hold off on bringing anything, unless you want it loaded down with government required firmware to the point it doesn't run.
    And when I went TDY there, the only people who really had anything were Juniors and Seniors, but it wasn't connected to the network.
     

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