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  • What are common notebook LCD resolutions?

    Conventional 4:3 resolutions typically include: -

    • XGA (1024x768)
    • SXGA+ (1400x1050)
    • UXGA (1600x1200)

    Some of the latest notebooks feature a 16:10 ratio wide-aspect display. The associated resolutions include: -

    • WXGA (1280x800)
    • WXGA+ (1440x900)
    • WSXGA+ (1680x1050)
    • WUXGA (1920x1200)
    • XGA = Extended Graphics Array
    • SXGA = Super XGA
    • UXGA = Ultra XGA
    • "W" Prefix = Wide WVA = Wide Viewing Angle
  • What Is Native Resolutions and Image Scaling?

    Keep in mind that when purchasing a notebook, selecting the unit with the highest resolution may not always be the best choice. Flat panel monitors, commonly referred to as fixed matrix displays, operate best at their native resolution. An XGA LCD panel for instance, has 1,024 pixels in each horizontal line and 768 pixels in each vertical line. CRTs on the other hand, have a very large number of scalable pixels that allow it to display many different resolutions. If a user purchases an extremely high resolution panel and decides to lower the resolution, the image quality is negatively impacted. For example, in order for an XGA panel to operate at 800x600 resolution, the image must be scaled up by 1.28x horizontally and vertically to fit the panel. Since 1.28 is not a whole-number increment, interpolated algorithms or "scaling" must be performed on the image. The image is stretched and distortion occurs. This scaling method results in somewhat blurry and fuzzy text.

    The best way to select notebook LCD is to view it in person. Choose the highest resolution that you're comfortable with. For Windows operating systems, a "large fonts" option is available in the Advanced Display Properties. This will enlarge icons and fonts, making it more readable at high resolutions. To scale the entire user interface, a third-party software solution may be better.

  • What is Centrino Technology?

    Centrino Mobile Technology is a combination of 3 Intel components found in the same notebook. Those components are:

    • Intel Pentium based Processor
    • Intel 855 Chipset Family or the Mobile Intel 915 Express chipset.
    • Intel Pro/Wireless Connection.

    In order for a notebook to be labeled as having "Centrino Mobile Technology", all three components must be available in the notebook. It is a common misconception that "Centrino" is a processor, but it is the combination of the three components listed above.

    Centrino Duo Mobile Technology
    This is simply an extension of the existing Centrino platform. A Centrino Duo system includes the Intel Core Duo or Core 2 Duo Mobile Processor, the newer 945 Express chipset, and the tri-mode Intel Pro/Wireless 3945ABG adapter.

  • Can I build my own laptop?

    In short, no. Notebooks unfortunately can not be built in the same fashion as a desktop PC by purchasing all of the components and putting it together. At most, you can purchase a "white-box" variety that is sold without CPU, memory, hard drive or operating system. However, you still can't build your own notebook from the ground up like you can with a pc.

  • What about gaming on a laptop?

    Gaming usually is more GPU bound than CPU bound, meaning, the GPU will make a bigger difference in gaming performance than the CPU.

    Most lower end (or even the super-mobile) notebooks don't have a dedicated GPU. Instead, they have Intel integrated "extreme" graphics, which is DX7 level hardware. No pixel shading. This usually results in substandard gaming.

    However, more and more midrange and Desktop-replacement notebooks are beginning to feature gaming GPU's that have been modified (usually with clock gating) to lessen power consumption when the GPU isn't being used for gaming.

  • What does DTR mean in reference to notebooks?

    DTR is an abbreviation for Desktop Replacement. Generally this abbreviation is reserved for the larger, heavier and more powerful notebooks that can be used as a replacement for one's desktop PC. These notebooks typically have large (15.4") screens, a non-mobile processor (such as a Pentium 4 processor), weigh above 6 pounds and have a low battery life (usually 2 hours or less). Not everyone purchases notebooks for portability. Some people prefer having less clutter and a DTR notebook will offer them exactly that.

  • Can I upgrade my notebook?

    Yes. Almost all notebooks that are sold can be upgraded in one way or another. The most common upgrade would be to add more RAM or a larger/faster hard drive. Optical drives can also be upgraded in many notebooks. Some of the more expensive, enthusiast notebooks also have upgradeable video cards.

    Many notebooks ship with 4200 rpm hard drives; these can be a bottleneck, slowing down any processes that rely on disc access.

    Although it is possible to upgrade your notebooks CPU, it is not recommended. It will almost always void your notebooks warranty.

    As with any upgrade, always check with the manufacturer before attempting to upgrade any components.

  • Are notebooks only for people who travel a lot?

    No. It was the intent when the first notebooks ("laptops") came out, for them to be mobile computers. Today people find many other reasons for owning a notebook. A large reason is still of course mobility. Business men/women, travelers and students find that being able to easily transport their computers has great benefits.

    Coupled with a wireless internet connection, many people love the freedom of surfing the net wirelessly and being able to do so in a variety of areas away from their work desks. Students will find that a powerful notebook can replace their desktop for almost all of their needs, while taking up a fraction of the space.

  • What does the screen lingo mean in terms of screen resolution?

    There are many terms out there when choosing a notebook screen with each one of these terms corresponding to a different screen resolution. Below is a list of commonly used terms and their resolutions.

    • XGA - 1024x768
    • SXGA - 1280x1024
    • SXGA+ - 1400x1050
    • UXGA - 1600x1200
    • WXGA - 1280x720
    • WSXGA+ - 1680x1050
    • WUXGA - 1920x1200

    The higher the screen resolution the one more can see on their screen. However, the higher you go in screen resolution, the smaller the text will become. This can be rough on those without perfect eye sight. You should keep this in mind when making a purchase for a laptop screen.

  • How should I clean my LCD screen on my notebook?

    Over time, you might notice dust or fingerprints on your LCD screen. As they become more and more noticeable, you will surely want to clean them off. As long as you follow a few guidelines, you can easily clean your screen without any harm to it.

    Canned air is a great cleaning device. Make sure you always hold the can upright and gently blow the air onto the screen to remove any dust particles. Most often, this will get rid of most of the dust. For smudge marks or fingerprints, you will need to wipe the screen. First and foremost, do not use a paper towel. As soft as they might seem to you, they are abrasive and over time will scratch your screen. Find a soft cotton cloth, or an electrostatic cloth used to clean eyeglasses.

    Always wipe in one direction (usually top to bottom). Do not use Windex or any other solvents that contain ammonia or ethyl alcohol, as these will cause your screen to turn yellow. There are several commercial products available*, or if you want, you can use just plain water or water mixed with a tiny bit of vinegar or isopropyl alcohol.

  • What does it mean to condition one's battery?

    Over time, you may notice that your battery doesn't hold a charge as long as it used to. This may be caused by frequent charges/drains or infrequent battery use. It is recommended that you "condition" your battery a few times a year to get the most out of it. To do this, simply charge your battery to the fullest and then disconnect the AC plug. Make sure any power saving alarms or options are disabled and simply let your notebook run until it completely drains the battery and turns itself off. Plug your notebook back in and completely recharge the battery before using it. This conditioning or "cycling" of the battery will help it retain a fuller charge for a longer period of time.

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