Pc Notebook and Palm Computers
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Eric Allen
PC Notebook and Palm Computers
Weve come a long way from the first successful portable computer. The Osborne, was introduced in 1981 and weighed 25 pounds, it came with 64 kilobits of memory. The Osbornes limited capacity and portability made it awkward compared to todays notebooks. And the cost was close to $1800, thats not to affordable for the 1980s.

Through relentless pursuit of technology, notebooks of today are just a step-down from the desktop PC. The notebooks of today are lightweight, weighing about 7 pounds and just as functional as your home computer. These notebooks occupy the same software and operating systems as the desktop. With the performance of todays notebooks nothing, time and speed will not be sacrificed. Lets take a closer at what features and options they have to offer.

There are two main manufactures of processors used in notebooks today, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD). The Intel processor is by far the most popular. Most processors have 32 kilobytes of cache memory directly on the processors chip. This type of memory is known as L1 cache. Without this L1 cache, when traveling outside the processor for information you has to slow down to the bus speed. The bus speed in notebook computers is 33MHz or 66MHz, thats slowing you down compared to the speed of the processor ex. 350Mhz. Through improvements AMDs product has become more popular, they are noted for offering lower priced notebooks. Lets talk about clock speed, both Intel and AMD K6 use megahertz to measure clock speed. Due to the differences in architecture, between the 2 chips, the K6-2 processor rarely performs at the level of the Pentium II processor with similar clock speeds.

(Computer Shopper September 1999 and PC World July 99)
Another issue to take into consideration is how much RAM (Random Access Memory) a unit has. RAM is an electronic storage area, where programs and data will be stored before the processor can manipulate it. Having insufficient RAM, the processor will wait to get its next instruction. Also you need to know how much RAM you can add later. There are a few types of ram the notebook has to offer.

SDRAM is a type of RAM found in notebooks, its a newer standard, and it offers a higher performance. What exactly is SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory)? SDRAM is a new variant of DRAM that includes an on chip burst counter. The burst counter allows to increment column addresses and increase of the burst access. With SDRAM the CPU and RAM are locked together by the same clock, this allows SDRAM to anticipate the CPUs next move. This is telling you that SDRAM will operate very quickly and contains its contents without being refreshed. One downfall to SDRAM is if your computer is running less than 66MHz, your computer will not be able to satisfy the needs represented by SDRAM. This factor doesnt come into consideration with todays high-speed notebooks.

With todays ability you can interplace chips to the consumers needs. A more expensive type of RAM chip available is VRAM (Video RAM), with 2 data paths for access, rather than just one. VRAM can manage 2 functions at once, and doesnt require the system to complete one function before starting the other, so it allows faster operation for the whole video system. VRAM chips enhance graphic performance, of video adapters to speed the creation of on screen images.

(PC World July 1999)
The main form of data storage in notebook computer is the hard drive. Generally more hard disk space is better, but large hard drives, can become filled and offer slower performance. Other storage devices are available such as a diskette drive and a zip drive. So you are given the opportunity to save hard disk space through these devices. (PC World July 1999)

Multimedia facets of notebook computers include, working together to provide good audio and video capabilities. The components involved are CD-ROM, DVD- ROM drive, speakers, display, sound adapter card, and video adapter card. This factor is of no importance, unless its important to the consumer. With multimedia components you have the risk of running up the price, especially with the top of the line components.

(PC World July 1999)
The quality of a notebook display is one area thats important not to overlook. A dim or fuzzy display that may cast a glare from certain angles, can cause eyestrain, and make your experience with a notebook undesirable. A flat lightweight display technology used in notebook computers is known as LCD (liquid crystal display). This display is made up of special molecules in the screen that have the ability to bend and twist light to create images. The two major categories of notebook displays are active matrix (also known as TFT thin film transistor) and passive matrix.

Passive matrix display- uses a technology known as high performance addressing, whose displays arent as bright or clear as TFT, but the price can be intising. This less desirable display uses a series of crisscrossed wires to create pixels at the wire intersection. This display simply signals each pixel whether to let light pass through it. The display can be uncomfortable to use, due to a fuzzier and slow refreshing display. One benefit of the passive matrix is a slightly superior dual-scan passive matrix, and the fact is this technology is cheaper.

Well you can stop squinting now and well focus on the more desirable display known as active matrix. This display uses individual transistors to control and adjust each pixel of the flat screen. The display creates a sharp, easy to view picture as well as comfort to your eyes. (PC World July 1999, www. PC Magazine.com)

When considering a notebook the battery life is of the UT most importance. If you intend to use a notebook, traveling or working in the field, where AC power is not available,

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