Laptop or notebook computer technology is advancing at
a blistering speed. Ferrari fast. So fast that by the time
you purchase your new laptop, it’s probably already
obsolete or out of date. A sobering thought considering
the hefty prices you have to pay for a high-end laptop.
But laptop technology is changing so fast new innovations
are coming on stream as you read this article. There is a
whole new generation of notebook technology every two years
or less. Therefore, unless you buy or upgrade your laptop
each year you’re falling behind what these sleek little
powerhouses can now deliver.
And unless you’re already in Geek Heaven, keeping track
of all these new technologies and innovations can be
quite a chore. Figuring out the right Graphics chipset
that works best with the right CPU and the best Data buses
is a major feat. And now that everything is being
Doubled — dual core, dual graphics — it’s entering
the realm where Einstein would be amused, even on a
bad hair day!
What’s the ordinary laptop buyer to do?
What you really have to keep in mind are the outcomes
of all this new technology. Basically, these new
technologies have made laptops smaller, faster and more
powerful. With every new improvement the laptop is closing
the gap between its main rival — the desktop computer.
Notebook computers are now out-selling desktops for
the first time in history. Laptops are replacing the
old desktop computer, whose days may just be numbered.
It won’t be long before laptops are also out-performing
them as well.
Some major computer makers are taking note of this
trend towards more powerful, smaller computers.
Even the desktop computer is morphing! Just look at
the sleek design of the new Apple iMac G5, gone is the
bulky tower, in its place is a well designed desktop
computer that’s almost a laptop!
For the ordinary computer user keeping abreast of
all these new technologies and inventions can be a
major chore if you’re considering buying a laptop
in the next little while. As you approach the smiling
salesperson in your favorite tech store, here’s a
few bits of new notebook technology you might want
to have in your possession so you won’t look like a
complete neophyte. Hey, where technology is concerned,
we have all been there, done that.
In order for you to tech-proof your next laptop
purchase, here’s a quick run down of some recent
The new Sonoma Platform, Intel’s next-generation Centrino
Chipset is already on the market. Members of the Sonoma
club are growing daily – Sony, IBM/Lenovo, BenQ, Dell,
Samsung, Acer, and Toshiba… another 80 or 90
‘Sonoma-endowed’ products will be released very shortly.
No doubt, it will become the Platform standard for many
high-end notebooks. Actually, it won’t make or mean that
much difference to the ordinary Joe/Jane who just want a
notebook or laptop for web surfing, word processing and
e-mail. Notebooks with the Sonoma Platform will be just
a little bit faster and have a little better battery life.
But for Mobile Professionals and Notebook Fanatics (they
do exist)… there’s a lot of good things delivered or
capable of being delivered with this new Centrino Chipset.
First, wireless connections will be easier with the integrated
tri-mode 802.11a/b/g, already dubbed by some as the
‘wireless trinity’! This will make it easier to stay
connected no matter where you are.
Improved performance will be experienced because the
new Pentium M’s have a 533MHz frontside bus, supported
with up to 2GB of DDR2 DRAM, Serial ATA Hard Drive, and
PCI Express, plus improved integrated graphics, including
Intel’s Hi-Def Audio. All are possible with the Sonoma
PCI(Peripheral Component Interconnect) Express is a new
standard for expansion cards that comes in different
versions. Presently, we have the x16 and x1 lanes, which
will be followed by x4 and x8 versions. It offers increased
bandwidth for example, x1 lane offers 500MB/sec instead of
just 133MB/sec for PCI.
All computers, including laptops have different buses,
(collection of wires) that transmit data from one component
Of course, in an ideal world, all the data in your computer
should move through just one BUS – however, most experts agree
it’s not likely to happen unless we start over and build a
computer system from scratch. For now we have to rely on
different internal buses to move the data around, the
PCI Express is a great improvement and will make your
These are always improving. A Graphics Card handles the
graphics or visuals on your notebook. If 3D graphics and
games is a pastime, you will want to buy the highest
quality system. Some of the higher end products are:
ATi Mobility Radeon 9800, X800, and FireGL V3200 or
Intel’s Graphics Media Accelerator 900.
If you can, go with a NVIDIA GeForce Go 6800 graphics
card or for the real game diehards – wait for the debut
of NVIDIA GeForce Go 7300 that features NVIDIA’s TurboCache
Gamers will be aware of NVIDIA SLI technology, ATI’s
CrossFire and Hyperthreading. All new stuff that’s
bringing the gaming experience up to a higher level of
perfection that would even be worthy of a Spielberg or
a Lucas Production. Not really, but it’s getting there.
64 Bit Laptops
Most systems today run on the 32 Bit System. Keep in mind,
the major difference between a 32-bit and a 64-bit system
is the amount of memory that they support. Around 4 GB for
32-bit and 8 GB and up for the 64-bit. Right now — Intel,
Apple, and AMD all offer 64-bit systems.
Do you need all this memory? No, for the average laptop
user it amounts to overkill. However, if you’re interested
in gaming, desktop publishing, or the graphic arts you will
benefit from 64-bit technology.
Dual Core Notebooks
Two is better than one!
Dual core laptops are now on the market. The gaming industry
is the starting point for many of these advanced systems.
For example, the British Laptop maker Rockdirect now produces
Xtreme 64, a gaming laptop with AMD’s new dual core Athlon 64
X2 processor. This same laptop also sports the ATI Mobility
Radeon X800 XT graphics card that features 16 pixel pipelines,
an industry first for notebooks.
The major producers of dual-core chips are Intel and AMD.
The Intel dual-core processor has hyperthreading (HT), the
two cores are divided into four virtual CPU units. Is all this
needed? Again, if you’re into heavy graphics or gaming, it’s
something you should consider and explore further.
Built-in Cellular Modem
Most high-end laptops now come with an integrated
tri-mode 802.11a/b/g for wireless WI-FI connections.
Some recent models, like the Sony’s New Ultra-Portable
VAIO VGN-T350P, are raising the bar; it has the world’s
first ‘Built-in Cellular Modem’. You can use your cell phone
to connect to the Internet. This may be a great advantage
since finding a ‘Hot Spot’ in some parts of the world can
still be difficult.
The Avant-Garde: LumiLED Display
Be on the look-out for LED monitors in the near future.
The brightness, colors and backlighting technology in LED
monitors will be quite different from LCD displays.
The Forerunner in this field is NEC’s SpectraView LumiLED,
and will offer a much better image and color.
Keep your eyes peeled.
On the Horizon:
19 or 20 Inch Laptop Screens
There is a rumor, only a rumor, that Dell is coming out
with a 19-inch laptop in early 2006. There is also buzz
that LG-Philips has a 20-inch LCD panel which could easily
be used by laptop makers if they want to explore this
market area. Andre the giant will be pleased!
Of course, there are many more laptop innovations in
the pipeline but they’re beyond the scope of this article.
Just keep all these new technological notebook changes in
mind when you’re checking out your next laptop. Maybe,
just maybe, most of these won’t already have been replaced
by something new by the time you buy your next laptop.
But don’t bet your Google Stocks on it!
February 8, 2016
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