OBJECTIVES• On completion of this unit, – Distinguish different types of portable devices from desktop computers – Describe typical components and functions of different notebook computers – Install and upgrade memory and peripheral devices on a notebook – Describe the operation of AC adaptors, batteries and power management – Identify a tablet pc and describe its uses – Identify key features of handheld devices (PDAs and smartphones)
Portable and Desktop Computers• A portable computer is a personal computer that is designed to be easily transported and relocated, but is larger and less convenient to transport than a notebook computer. The earliest PCs designed for easy transport were called portables. As the size and weight of most portables decreased, they became known as laptop computer and later as notebook computer. Today, larger transportable computers continue to be called portable computers. Most of these are special-purpose computers - for example, those for use in industrial environments where they need to be moved about frequently.
• The term "desktop computer" comes from an age when it was considered chic for a computer to be small enough to fit on top of a desk and the term "personal computer" was coming into use, in the late 70s and early 80s. The term desktop computer is used interchangeably with "personal computer", but there are other kinds of computers that are also called "personal computers". At one time, any computer with reasonable processing power was large, heavy, loud, bolted down to the floor and roughly the size of a refridgerator.
• As computer hardware has become ever smaller and more integrated, a desktop computer is now considered a large, clunky system compared to todays sleek, slim laptops, efficient notebooks and highly portable tablet PCs (the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy, HP Touch and others). Todays desktop computers are the upper range of computing power most home and office users have access to directly at their desk. These computers are on utility power, not a battery, so they have the electricity to run faster processors, more memory and disks and operate at higher speeds. As a general rule, a brand new desktop computer will be more powerful and have more storage than any smaller computer such as a laptop, ultrabook, notebook or tablet PC. As a general rule, a desktop computer will get you more computing power for your dollar. Making electronics smaller and portable means greater expense, and lower electrical power usage means slower electronics.
Notebook computer• A notebook computer is a battery- or AC-powered personal computer generally smaller than a briefcase that can easily be transported and conveniently used in temporary spaces such as on airplanes, in libraries, temporary offices, and at meetings. A notebook computer, sometimes called a laptop computer, typically weighs less than 5 pounds and is 3 inches or less in thickness. Among the best-known makers of notebook and laptop computers are IBM, Apple, Compaq, Dell, Toshiba, and Hewlett-Packard.• Notebook computers generally cost more than desktop computers with the same capabilities because they are more difficult to design and manufacture. A notebook can effectively be turned into a desktop computer with a docking station, a hardware frame that supplies connections for peripheral input/output devices such as a printer or larger monitor. The less capable port replicator allows you to connect a notebook to a number of peripherals through a single plug.
Types of Note Book computers• Notebooks can be divided into a number of types depending upon its size and functions. Listed below are some types of notebooks. – Ultra portables- having a screen size of 12 inches and a weight less than 2 kg. – Thin and lights- having a screen size of 12 to 14 inches and weight ranging from 1.8 to 2.8 kg. – Medium sized laptops- with a screen size of 14 to 15.4 inches and a weight ranging from 3 to 3.5 kg. – Desktop replacement computers- having a screen size varying from 17 to 20 inches and a weight ranging from 4 to 6 kg.
Note Book components• The basic components of laptops are similar in function to their desktop counterparts, but are miniaturized, adapted to mobile use, and designed for low power consumption. Because of the additional requirements, laptop components are usually slower compared to similarly priced desktop parts. Furthermore, the design bounds on power, size, and cooling of laptops limit the maximum performance of laptop parts compared to that of desktop components.• The following list summarizes the differences and distinguishing features of laptop components in comparison to desktop personal computer parts.
• Central processing unit (CPU): Laptop CPUs have advanced power- saving features and produce less heat than desktop processors, but are not as power full. There is a wide range of CPUs designed for laptops available from Intel (Pentium M, Celeron M, Intel Core and Core 2 Duo), AMD (Athlon, Turion 64, and Sempron), VIA Technologies, Transmeta and others. On the non-x86 architectures, Motorola and IBM produced the chips for the former PowerPC-based Apple laptops (iBook and PowerBook). Most laptops have removable CPUs, although some support by the motherboard may be restricted to the specific models. Some laptops use a desktop processor instead of the laptop version. Those laptops have high performance at the cost of being likely to have overheating problems, and having less battery life. In other laptops the CPU is soldered on the motherboard and is non- replaceable.
• Memory (RAM): SO-DIMM memory modules that are usually found in laptops are about half the size of desktop DIMMs.They may be accessible from the bottom of the laptop for ease of upgrading, or placed in locations not intended for user replacement such as between the keyboard and the motherboard. Currently, most midrange laptops are factory equipped with 3–4 GB of DDR2 RAM, while some higher end notebooks feature up to 32 GB of DDR3 memory. Netbooks however, are commonly equipped with only 1 GB of RAM to keep manufacturing costs low.
• Expansion cards: A PC Card (formerly PCMCIA) or ExpressCard bay for expansion cards is often present on laptops to allow adding and removing functionality, even when the laptop is powered on. Some subsystems (such as Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or a cellular modem) can be implemented as replaceable internal expansion cards, usually accessible under an access cover on the bottom of the laptop. Two popular standards for such cards are MiniPCI and its successor, the PCI Express Mini.
• Power supply: Laptops are typically powered by an internal rechargeable battery that is charged using an external power supply, which outputs a DC voltage typically in the range of 7.2– 24 volts. The power supply is usually external, and connected to the laptop through a AC connector cable. It can charge the battery and power the laptop simultaneously; when the battery is fully charged, the laptop continues to run on power supplied by the external power supply. The charger adds about 400 grams (1 lb) to the overall "transport weight" of the notebook.
• Battery: Current laptops utilize lithium ion batteries, with more recent models using the new lithium polymer technology. These two technologies have largely replaced the older nickel metal-hydride batteries. Typical battery life for standard laptops is two to five hours of light-duty use, but may drop to as little as one hour when doing power-intensive tasks. A batterys performance gradually decreases with time, leading to an eventual replacement in one to three years, depending on the charging and discharging pattern. This large-capacity main battery should not be confused with the much smaller battery nearly all computers use to run the real-time clock and to store the BIOS configuration in the CMOS memory when the computer is off. Lithium-ion batteries do not have a memory effect as older batteries may have. The memory effect happens when one does not use a battery to its fullest extent, then recharges the battery. Innovations in laptops and batteries have seen new possible matchings which can provide up to a full 24 hours of continued operation, assuming average power consumption levels. An example of this is the HP EliteBook 6930p when used with its ultra-capacity battery.
• Video display controller: On standard laptops the video controller is usually integrated into the chipset to conserve power. This tends to limit the use of laptops for gaming and entertainment, two fields which have constantly escalating hardware demands, and because the integrated chipset is very difficult to upgrade for a standard user, laptops may grow obsolete quickly for use in gaming and entertainment. Higher-end laptops and desktop replacements in particular often come with dedicated graphics processors on the motherboard or as an internal expansion card. These mobile graphics processors are comparable in performance to mainstream desktop graphic accelerator boards. A few notebooks have switchable graphics with both an integrated and discrete card installed. The user can choose between using integrated graphics when battery life is important and dedicated graphics when demanding applications call for it. This allows for greater flexibility and also conserves power when not required.
• Display: Most modern laptops feature 13 inches (33 cm) or larger color active matrix displays based on CCFL or LED lighting with resolutions of 1280×800 (16:10) or 1366 × 768 (16:9) pixels and above. Some models use screens with resolutions common in desktop PCs (for example, 1440×900, 1600×900 and 1680×1050.) Models with LED-based lighting offer lesser power consumption, and often higher brightness. Netbooks with a 10 inches (25 cm) or smaller screen typically use a resolution of 1024×600, while netbooks and subnotebooks with a 11.6 inches (29 cm) or 12 inches (30 cm) screen use standard notebook resolutions.
• Removable media drives: A DVD/CD reader/writer drive is nearly universal on full- sized models, and is common on thin-and-light models; it is uncommon on subnotebooks and unknown on netbooks. CD drives are becoming rare, while Blu-ray is becoming more common on notebooks
• Internal storage: Laptop hard disks are physically smaller—2.5 inches (64 mm) or 1.8 inches (46 mm) — compared to desktop 3.5 inches (89 mm) drives. Some newer laptops (usually ultra portables) employ more expensive, but faster, lighter and power-efficient flash memory-based SSDs instead. Currently, 250 to 500 GB sizes are common for laptop hard disks (64 to 512 GB for SSDs).• Input: A pointing stick, touchpad or both are used to control the position of the cursor on the screen, and an integrated keyboard is used for typing. An external keyboard and/or mouse may be connected using USB or PS/2 port, or Bluetooth (if present).
• Ports: several USB ports, an external monitor port (VGA, DVI, mini-DisplayPort or HDMI), audio in/out, and an Ethernet network port are found on most laptops. Less common are legacy ports such as a PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, serial port or a parallel port. S-video or composite video ports are more common on consumer-oriented notebooks.
• Cooling: Waste heat from operation is difficult to remove in the compact internal space of a laptop. Early laptops used heat sinks placed directly on the components to be cooled, but when these hot components are deep inside the device, a large space-wasting air duct is needed to exhaust the heat. Modern laptops instead rely on heat pipes to rapidly move waste heat towards the edges of the device, to allow for a much smaller and compact fan and heat sink cooling system. Waste heat is usually exhausted away from the device operator, towards the rear or sides of the device. Multiple air intake paths are used, because some intakes can be blocked, such as when the device is placed on a soft conforming surface such as a chair cushion.