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Portable Computing. Chapter 21. Overview. In this chapter, you will learn how to Describe the many types of portable computing devices available Enhance and upgrade portable computers Manage and maintain portable computers Troubleshoot portable computers. Portable Computing Devices.

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In this chapter, you will learn how to

Describe the many types of portable computing devices available

Enhance and upgrade portable computers

Manage and maintain portable computers

Troubleshoot portable computers

portable computing devices

Portable Computing Devices

Getting the Right Sound Card

lcd screens
LCD Screens

Major contributor to cost

Most range from 12 inch to 17 inch

Aspect ratio changing from 4:3 standard

For comparison, 16:9 is standard for widescreen

16:10 is the standard for 17-inch LCD screen

lcd screens continued
LCD Screens (continued)

Two types of finishes


Traditional standard

Reduces glare

Washes out a lot in bright light

Hopeless in bright daylight

High Gloss

Relatively new

Offers sharper contrast, richer colors, and wider viewing angles

desktop replacements
A desktop replacement laptop can function as a fully standalone PC

Can be used as a desktop replacement

Input devices

Trackballs on early laptops

IBM’s TrackPoint—pencil eraser–sized joystick in the middle of the keyboard


Desktop Replacements
desktop extenders
Desktop Extenders

Desktop extenders are portable devices

Not intended to take the place of a desktop

Think of them as smaller, lighter, less-powerful laptops for less intensive use


Netbooks fill the gap between PDAs and laptops

Focused on low price and size

Most have a 10.1” screen

Powered by Intel Atom processors

Long battery life

Relatively lowperformance

pdas and smartphones
PDAs and Smartphones

Personal digital assistants (PDAs)

Tiny, handheld portable computing devices

Address book, personal notes, appointments, word processors, image viewers

Often use handwriting recognition with a pen-style stylus for pen-based computing

Use specialized OS such as PocketPC, PalmOS, or Android

Made by Apple, HTC, RIM, Hewlett-Packard, and other companies

Called smartphones when coupled with calling capabilities

pda and smartphone features
PDA and Smartphone Features


Can synchronize data betweenPDA or smartphone and a PC

Need to use specific software on the PC to make this happen

Apple iTunes

Windows Mobile Device Center

PDA to PDA communication

Older PDAs typically have IR ports

Can transfer data (beam) between PDAs

Newer devices use cellular and wireless networks to communicate just like other portable PCs

pda and smartphone features continued
PDA and Smartphone Features (continued)


Internal flash memory of 1+ MB on older devices

Newer devices have internal memory of 16+ GB for storing music, videos, and more

Many support additional flash-media cards that are removable and upgradeable for removable storage needs

SD cards common

tablet pcs
Tablet PCs

Combines handwriting benefits of PDAs with power of traditional laptops

Classical Tablet PCs require a stylus to write or interact with menus, icons, and so on

Acts like mouse in non-tablet-aware applications

Some feature a touch screen, just like a PDA

Some models offer pressure sensitivity

tablet pcs continued

Form factors

Convertibles offer the look andfeel of a laptop, but can transform into a flatcomputer

Slates start as flatcomputers and stay that way

Tablet PCs (continued)
tablet pcs continued1
Tablet PCs (continued)

Applications can use digital ink to capture pen strokes

Add annotations directly to the screen in Microsoft Office applications

InkyBoard provides a virtual dry-erase board and keeps a digital copy of each board

lab what s in your class
Lab – What’s in Your Class?

It’s time for show and tell

Survey the class to see what portable devices people have

What do they use the devices for?

What variations are there?

What’s the most unusual device?

Expect to see the gamut from laptops to netbooks to smartphones

enhancement options
Enhancement Options

PC Cards

Single-function ports

General-purpose ports

The modular laptop

pc cards
PC Cards are commonly known as the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA)

Hot-swappable devices

Easy to use, inexpensive, and convenient

Two flavors: parallel and ExpressCard

PC Cards
parallel pc cards
Parallel PC Cards

16-bit PC Cards


Cards can have one or two functions

CardBus PC Cards



Cards can have up to eight functions

Slots support 16-bit PC Cards (not visa versa)

parallel pc card types

Three sizes: Type I (thinnest), II, and III (thickest)

Many laptops offer two Type-II slots that can also accommodate one Type-III card

Parallel PC Card Types





Typical Use

Type I

85.6 mm

54 mm

3.3 mm

Flash memory

Type II

85.6 mm

54 mm

5.0 mm

I/O (modem, NIC, etc.)

Type III

85.6 mm

54 mm

10.5 mm

Hard drives



High-performance serial PC Cards

Connect to either the USB 2.0 bus (480 Mbps) or PCIe bus (2.5 Gbps)

Many portable PCs have ExpressCard sockets today

software support for pc cards
Software Support for PC Cards

Two levels of software drivers

Socket services

Device drivers that enable the system to detect when a PC Card is inserted or removed

Provide necessary I/O to the device

Standardized and handled by the system BIOS

Card services

Recognize the function of a particular PC Card and provide the specialized drivers required to make the card work

Handled by Windows

Accessed via PCMCIA option in Control Panel

Only for parallel PC Cards

ExpressCards require neither set of services


Limited-Function Ports

  • All portable PCs and many PDAs come with a variety of ports
    • Video connection(s) for hooking up an external monitor (VGA, DVI, HDMI)
    • PS/2 port for an external keyboard or mouse
    • Built-in NICs and modems for network support
      • All of these work the same as in desktop PCs
    • Video ports
      • External monitor, projector,or a combination of both
    • Speaker ports
    • Extra function key
general purpose ports
Legacy ports

RS-232, parallel

USB, FireWire, andeSATA

Work same as in PC

Port replicators

Plug into a single port

Usually USB

Offer common PC portssuch as serial, parallel, network, and PS/2

General-Purpose Ports
docking stations
Docking Stations

Gives laptops access to PC resources

Large monitors, regular mice, network connections, and full-size keyboards

Provides an easy way to take your laptop in and out of the office

Almost always a proprietary port

lab expanding the laptop
Lab – Expanding the Laptop

Examine a laptop and answer these questions

What sort of expansion options does it have?

Does it have a PC Card slot? What kind?

What about single and multifunction ports?

Does it have a proprietary connection for a docking station?

the modular laptop
The Modular Laptop

Newer laptops offer some part-swapping

Get parts off the Web


Hard drives


Video cards

Optical drives

Network cards

replacing ram
Replacing RAM

Usually first replacement item

Many portables have insufficient RAM

Get the right kind for the laptop

72-pin SO-DIMM with SDRAM

144-pin SO-DIMM with SDRAM

200-pin SO-DIMM with DDR or DDR2

172-pin micro-DIMMs with DDR or DDR2

204-pin SO-DIMM with DDR3

replacing ram continued
No standard method

You usually have to unscrew or pop open a panel on the underside of the portable

Disconnect AC power and battery before installing

Replacing RAM (continued)
shared memory
Shared Memory

Video subsystem “borrows” a portion of system memory

Reduces cost of video cards

Reduces amount of memory on the video card

System RAM will report less RAM available

Not shared as much as taken from OS

Once taken, OS no longer has access to the RAM

shared memory continued
Shared Memory (continued)

Shared memory technologies

TurboCache (NVIDIA)

HyperMemory (ATI)

You can make changes to shared memory settings in the system setup utility

Adding more system RAM will increase overall performance

lab adjusting shared memory
Lab – Adjusting Shared Memory

How much RAM does the laptop have, according to Windows?

Access the system setup utility to see how much RAM is reported to BIOS

Find the options for shared memory

Does it have any shared memory?

If so, what can you do here?

How much RAM can you dedicate to memory?

the modular laptop1
The Modular Laptop

Common components that can be replaced or upgraded in a portable PC

Hard drives

2.5-inch ATA drives most common

Cable select often required

Otherwise the same as regular 3.5-inch drives

Modular CPUs

Just replace with a newer module from Intel or AMD

Video cards

Least standardized

the modular laptop continued
The Modular Laptop (continued)

Common components that can be replaced or upgraded in a portable PC

Modular Drives

CD, DVD, and Blu-ray Disc

Hot-swappable, though use the Hardware Removal Tool for safety

Mobile NICs and Mini PCI

Most laptops have dial-up modems and Ethernet

Many also come with integrated wireless networking support

Many devices can be toggled on and off with key combinations such as FN-F2

mini pci
Mini PCI

Support for NICs, Bluetooth, modems, audio, and hard drive controllers

32-bit, 33-MHz

Supports bus mastering and DMA

Can swap out for newer/improved components


Everything you normally do to maintain a PC applies to portable PCs

Windows patches and Service Packs

Upgrading drivers



Disk Cleanup

Plus there are other issues


Power Management

Cleaning and heat

Protecting the portable from harm

Three types of commonly used batteries

Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd)

Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH)

Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)

nickel cadmium batteries
Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries

First batteries commonly used in mobile PCs

Battery memory is the tendency of a Ni-Cd battery to lose a significant amount of its recharge ability

Conditioning charge cansometimes resolve battery memory problem

At best, can only be recharged about 1000 times

Toxic – dispose of at recycling centers

Nickel-Cadmium Batteries
nickel metal hydride
Nickel-Metal Hydride

Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) batteries

Next generation of mobile PC batteries

Less susceptible to memory problems and last longer between recharges

Still susceptible to heat

Popular replacement for Ni-Cd systems

lithium ion
Lithium Ion

Lithium Ion batteries

Most common type of battery used today


Completely immune to memory problems

Built-in circuitry to prevent accidental overcharging

Systems designed only to use Li-Ion

other portable power sources
Other Portable Power Sources

Smart batteries

Tell the computer when they need to be charged, conditioned, or replaced

Can recalibrate smart batteries, so they remember full length of charge

battery maintenance
Battery Maintenance

Batteries should be stored in a cool place

But not the freezer!

Ni-Cd and Ni-MH batteries should be conditioned by using a special charger

Battery contacts should be kept clean using a little alcohol or dry cloth

Never handle a ruptured battery

Check the MSDS for what to do in case of an emergency

Used or old batteries should be recycled

power management
Power Management

All components on a portable draw power





Key for power management is the hardware, BIOS, and OS working together to reduce power use



system management mode
System Management Mode

System Management Mode (SMM)

Set of features that enables the CPU to slow down or stop its clock without deleting information

Stops the CPU and all of the peripherals

Requires a specialized BIOS and OS

To further power management capabilities, Intel introduced

Advanced Power Management (APM) in 1992

Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) in 1996

requirements for apm acpi
Requirements for APM/ACPI

APM and ACPI require the following in order to function properly

An SMM-capable CPU

APM-compliant BIOS (so CPU can shut off peripherals)

Devices that will accept being shut off (“Energy Star”)

A system OS that knows how to request the shutdown of a particular device

ACPI also supports hot-swappable devices

apm acpi levels

Full On

No power management—everything running

APM Enabled

CPU and RAM running at full power

Unused devices may or may not be shut down

APM Standby

CPU is stopped (can easily be restarted)

RAM still stores all the programs

All peripherals are shut down (but still loaded)

APM Suspend

Everything is shut down or at its lowest power-consumption

Hibernation (stores everything in RAM on the hard drive before powering down)

apm acpi configuration
APM/ACPI Configuration


Overrides CMOS settings

Display applet in Control Panel

Settings | Advanced | Monitor tab

Power Management applet in Control Panel

  • CMOS settings

Keep it clean

Use a screen cleaner to clean the LCD screen (not a glass cleaner)

Use compressed air to clean out the keyboard and PC Card sockets

Avoid moisture on keyboard

dealing with heat
Dealing with Heat

Heat can kill

Use power management

Keep air space between the bottom of the laptop and the surface it sits on

Don’t use a keyboard protector

Listen for fan running a lot or stopping

Use on a hard surface, not a lap or pillow

protect the machine
Protect the Machine

Protect your investment with best practices


Watch the power cord


Protect from damage and dust

Remove the battery for long-term storage

protect the machine continued
Protect the Machine (continued)


Use a padded case

Have some battery power available to avoid problems with security

Keep portable in sight

Remember foreign power is 230 V

Make sure your laptop has autosensing power supply

protect the machine continued1
Protect the Machine (continued)


Remove removable devices

Don’t label box as “expensive portable computer”


Protect from theft by using a laptop lock

Software tracking programs in case of theft

BitLocker drive encryption protects contents of drive from thieves


Laptop won’t power on

Verify the outlet is good

Verify the AC adapter is good

Remove all peripherals

Screen doesn’t come on properly

Make sure the display is on

Press FN key combination to activate the screen

Bad inverter or CCFL = dim screen

Wireless networking doesn’t work

Check for physical switch to turn it on

Ensure you’re in range

troubleshooting continued
Troubleshooting (continued)

Handwriting is not recognized

May need to retrain the digitizer

Keypad doesn’t work

Probably unseated keypad connector

Check manufacturer’s disassembly procedures

Touchpad doesn’t work

Clean with compressed air

May need to reconfigure touchpad driver

troubleshooting continued1
Troubleshooting (continued)

Numbers appear during normal QWERTY typing

Check the NUMLOCKS key

Laptop screen turns on and off while typing

User might be pressing the CRT/LCD keyboard button by mistake

Touchpad overly sensitive or not sensitive enough

Adjust in the Control Panel applet

troubleshooting continued2
Troubleshooting (continued)

Keyboard doesn’t work after installing RAM or other internal component

Check the fragile keyboard controller connector and reseat if necessary

Replace LCD Panel

Remove all power, AC, and battery

If laptop has WiFi, disconnect both video and WiFi connections when replacing panel