Alienware + RIT

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					      Alienware + RIT
    Alienware Desktops
Help Make the Grade for
  the Game Design and
 Development Program
 at Rochester Institute
         of Technology




 COLLECTED EVIDENCE
Alienware Desktops Help Make the Grade for the Game
Design and Development Program at Rochester Institute
                                      of Technology
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, New York, is one of the
nation’s leading gaming colleges. The Global Gaming League, a worldwide
leader in organized competitive online and live video game tournaments
and events, ranked RIT No. 3 on its list of the Top 10 Gaming Colleges in
                                                        the United States.

The super high-speed connections and dedicated servers, gaming-related
courses and social events centered on LAN parties are part of the lure.
RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences
offers those amenities to graduate and undergraduate students enrolled
                          in its game design and development programs.




                                              COLLECTED EVIDENCE
                                         Get your game (design) on
With an increasing student interest in game design at RIT, the college began
offering elective courses in game development in 2002. As the popularity
of those classes increased, Andy Phelps, game design and development
director and associate professor at RIT, led a graduate studies program with
its first classes starting in Fall 2006. An undergraduate program followed
                                                                 the next fall.

The program’s curriculum was formed through industry research on what
the game design and development companies expected from prospective
hires and involvement with the International Game Developers Association.
Additionally, RIT added faculty with experience working in some of the most
notable game development companies in North America. The students can
choose from courses like, “History and Critical Analysis of Computer Games
and Interactive Entertainment” and “Artificial Intelligence for Interactive
Environments” – each class offering the necessary steps toward a better
understanding of how software engineers develop their favorite PC or
                                                       console video games.




                                               COLLECTED EVIDENCE
                                Get your game (design) on (contd’)

Phelps and one of his colleagues, Stephen Jacobs, RIT associate professor of
information technology, said they were fortunate to have an RIT administration
that understands the needs of the game design and development program
and provides funding that keeps the program’s gaming consoles, software,
desktops and monitors upgraded. Before the program existed, the labs were
filled with locally built desktops with a variety of software packages to meet
course requirements – better accommodations than most colleges, but nothing
                                                             out of the ordinary.

“Our original computers were generic PCs with modern processors and mid-
range graphics cards,” Phelps said. “The labs were filled with just your average
rows of average computers. Those computers were great, but better computers
                                                              existed out there.”

With the start of a new program, Phelps and Jacobs knew they needed some
high-end hardware to handle the long days and nights in the lab. The RIT
administration encouraged the program to perform its due diligence and get
estimates from several vendors – even testing them. After a thorough analysis
    of desktops on the market, that’s when, as Phelps put it, “the angels sang.”




                                                COLLECTED EVIDENCE
                               RIT joins elite Alienware fraternity
Alienware systems, a brand the two colleagues and many of their current and
prospective students were familiar with, were the perfect fit for RIT. The game
design staff worked with Alienware on configuring the ALX desktops to meet
their needs. Instead of ordering the same specifications on every computer, RIT
mixed AMD and Intel processors with NVIDIA and ATI graphics cards to give
the students several platforms on which to test their software. Additionally,
many of the machines boast high-performance features, including increased
RAM, liquid cooling, SLI configurations, PhysX accelerators and custom input
hardware. Each year, the game design and development program upgrades 50
percent of its 30-computer Alienware lab so that the students are constantly
               working on the latest equipment in preparation for their future.

“Because of the problems we were having with the generalized hardware,
we wanted to go with a vendor like Alienware that is specifically involved in
our space and can vouch for reliability,” Phelps said. “Also, melting a few of
the other vendors’ machines certainly helped the argument for purchasing
                                                         Alienware systems.”




                                               COLLECTED EVIDENCE
                                       Alienware invades RIT campus
There were three primary reasons that the program switched to Alienware. First,
they liked the durability of the computer. With Alienware regularly testing its
computers with the latest gaming configurations, it made sure all of their desktops
handled the heat output of the various developing and gaming software RIT
used. Overheating was common with other PCs. The second reason was onsite
support. RIT depends on its labs to maintain a productive learning environment.
When downtime occurs, RIT staff can make a call and have Alienware support
come out and resolve the problem quickly with minimal downtime. Finally, with
the lab able to upgrade half of its computers each year, RIT needed a program
that offered several graphics card and processor configurations to maintain a
                                             strong game-testing environment.

After becoming an Alienware customer, RIT found a few perks to owning the elite
machines. RIT was able to customize a few of their computers beyond regular
Alienware standards in order to meet the needs of the program. Also, Alienware’s
                   unique chassis design increased the program’s “cool factor.”




                                                 COLLECTED EVIDENCE
                           Alienware invades RIT campus (contd’)
“They make a great impression with students and parents during open house,”
Jacobs said. “Not only students, but parents will walk in and say, ‘Wow, it’s all
Alienware. Awesome!’ At least one prospective student or parent will ask what
we do with the old Alienware computers once we get upgrades because they
                                             want to get their hands on one.”

Alienware is leaving its mark on RIT’s game design and development
program. In-class discussions have spawned interest in the architecture
capabilities of the Alienware desktops compared to other generic
computers. In-class battles have been fought as students wage contests
in Crysis or defend and conquer in World of Warcraft. With the program’s
increased popularity, RIT is currently in the planning stages of doubling
its overall facility to support the student demand for the game design and
development program. Whether the RIT students are designing games on
the Alienware desktops or playing them, Alienware is onboard to welcome
future students into RIT’s world of game design and help them conquer it
                            using some of the best desktops in the universe.

“It certainly doesn’t hurt recruiting that we have Alienware computers,” Jacobs
said. “The computers are beyond aesthetically pleasing. It’s all about the ‘cool
factor.’ When they see that Alienware logo, the prospective student knows we
         have top-of-the-line equipment, and that makes a lasting impression.”




                                                COLLECTED EVIDENCE

				
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posted:9/26/2011
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