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Making the Laptop Move All Information Courtesy of Consumer Reports. Professional Toolkit Series NSBE – Houston Space Chapter. Conquering the Desktop. Laptops originally grossly inferior in capability or price to desktops – no longer true Any laptop can handle typical computing tasks

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Making the laptop move all information courtesy of consumer reports

Making the Laptop MoveAll Information Courtesy of Consumer Reports

Professional Toolkit Series

NSBE – Houston Space Chapter


Conquering the desktop
Conquering the Desktop

  • Laptops originally grossly inferior in capability or price to desktops – no longer true

  • Any laptop can handle typical computing tasks

  • Larger displays – often 15-inch, a few 17-inch models

  • Prices have fallen – average laptop around $1500, but closeout sales or no-frills laptops can match desktop prices


Display types
Display Types

  • XGA (Extended Graphics Array) 1024x768 pixels (acceptable for most standard use)

  • SXGA (Super XGA) 1280 x 1024 pixels

  • SXGA+ (SXGA Plus) 1400 x 1050 pixels

  • UXGA (Ultra XGA) 1600 x 1200 pixels


Centrino processor
Centrino Processor

  • Intel’s name for the Pentium M

  • Designed for mobile computing and wireless connectivity

  • Longer battery lifetimes than other processors

  • Generate less heat

  • Quieter than other laptops (don’t require loud cooing fan)


Diminished significance of processor speed
Diminished Significance of Processor Speed

  • No longer the all-important metric of computer performance

  • Most processors deliver all the speed computer needs – additional speed not adding capability

  • 2.4-GHz Pentium 4 and 1.4 GHz Centrino earned same speed score in Consumer Reports tests

  • Direct speed comparisons difficult to make and potentially misleading


Operating system
Operating System

  • Windows is best choice for most users

  • Macintosh useful for photo editing, music, video, and other multimedia

  • Select Windows XP Professional and Microsoft Office for business use


Types of laptops
Types of Laptops

  • Lightweight (~ $1500 and up)

    • Cut weight by using plug-in drives

    • Processors designed for low power usage and maximum battery life

    • Screens may be small

    • Recommended target configuration:

      • 2.2-GHz Pentium 4 mobile, or 1.4-GHz Centrino, or equivalent

      • 12- or 14-inch XGA screen

      • 20 or 30 GB hard drive

      • Modular drive bay

      • CD/DVD combo drive

      • 256 MB RAM


Types of laptops1
Types of Laptops

  • Desktop Replacement (~ $1200 and up)

    • 2.2-GHz Pentium 4 Mobile, or 2.7-GHz nonmobile processor, or equivalent

    • 15-inch XGA display

    • 30 or 40 GB hard drive

    • CD/DVD combo drive

    • 256 or 512 MB of RAM

    • 32 MB graphics processor


Special needs
Special Needs

  • Serious digital imaging

    • Desktop replacement augmented with:

      • 60 GB hard drive

      • SXGA+ display

      • For video editiong:

        • 3 GHz processor or equivalent

        • 512 MB to 1 GB RAM

        • DVD writer

      • For extreme gaming:

        • 64 MB gamer-class graphics processor


Special needs1
Special Needs

  • Frequent travel

    • Lightweight laptop augmented with:

      • Desktop docking station

      • Spare battery and padded case


Special option tablet pc
Special Option: Tablet PC

  • Touch-sensitive screen

  • Handwriting recognition

  • Toshiba Portege – laptop that becomes a tablet (flip screen and lock down over keyboard)

    • Consumer Reports suggests Portege doesn’t hold its own against other laptops, though the tablet PC portion works well


Pre configured or custom
Pre-Configured or Custom?

  • Customized options pioneered by Dell and Gateway; becoming industry standard

  • Generally tradeoff of price/convenience vs. optimization


Other components to consider
Other Components to Consider

  • High speed USB port? (40x faster than earlier USB ports)

  • Modular bay (holds CD-ROM, disk drive, or spare battery)

  • Card slots

  • Infrared port

  • S-video output

  • 3.5-inch disk drive


Low cost units units don t have all the frills but may be options when on a budget
Low Cost UnitsUnits don’t have all the frills, but may be options when on a budget

  • Compaq Presario 2100: $800 to $1700

  • Dell Inspiron 1100: $850 to $1600

  • Gateway 400: $850 to $1900

  • HP Pavilion ze4300: $800 to $2100

  • IBM Thinkpad G: $900 to $2000

  • IBM Thinkpad R: $850 to $2500


Consumer reports best buys
Consumer Reports Best Buys

  • Desktop Replacement

    • Dell Inspiron 5100: 2.66-GHz Pentium 4, 15-inch, SXGA+

      • $1300

  • Lightweight

    • Gateway 450: 1.4-GHz Centrino, 15-inch, SXGA+

      • $1600

    • Sony Vaio PCG-Z1: 1.5-GHz Centrino, 14-inch, SXGA+

      • $2400


Warranties and insurance
Warranties and Insurance

  • Get longest manufacturer’s warranty you can afford

  • If travel often, purchase screen insurance

  • Won’t need extended warranty from retailer if take full advantage of manufacturer warranty/insurance


Summary
Summary

  • Do your homework before making a purchase

  • Decide what capabilities you want

    • Choose pre-configured vs. custom accordingly

    • Don’t pay hundreds more for features you won’t use

  • Consider travel needs

  • Consider peripheral needs

  • Budget accordingly and enjoy


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