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List of Computer Terminology - What to Look for When Buying a Laptop?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 1

I know that the list of computer terminology seems unlimited and very non-familiar for most of us – that's why I gather here and explained all the key features of a notebook so that you know exactly what to look for when buying a laptop. And also having the complete list of computer terminology will help you to remember everything and decide for the best possible configuration. So what to look for?

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List of Computer Terminology - Key Features

There are no more than 10 key features to consider for when buying a laptop:

  • Portable form factor

Usually here you will consider the weight , the dimensions and the screen size.

- Ultraportable = less than 4 lbs (1.8 kg) and compact enough to be carried everywhere – which means the screen size is between 10" and 13.3". You can find laptops that are both ultraportables and can be used as desktop replacements – and as time passed they become also more and more affordable.

- Maistream laptops = more than 4 lbs (1.8 kg), screen size is between 14" and 16", they are all-purpose, home entertainment laptops.

- Desktop replacement = the screen size is 16" or more (ex: 20") (that's what it is usually considered in this category) + they can accommodate a wide range of performance parts and they are reliable (while functioning more than 8h/day). The lasts 2 are the more important because even the screen size is smaller you simple can use it at home or at work connected to a wider screen. (That's what I use – an ultraportable which is also a desktop replacement and I think it is the best combination – ofcourse this depend upon everyone's precise needs).

Weight - the range is mainly between: 2 lbs (~1kg) - 13 lbs (5.8 kg).

Dimensions – here are some exemples (width x depth x height ):
11.2" x 8" x 1.1"; 16.4" x 10.9" x 1.6"; 17.2" x 11.7" x 1.7"
  • The processor (CPU) - the performance is given by its speed

When it comes to processors, the fastest the better. The 2 main options are: Intel's Pentium M CPU (costly) and AMD's mobile processors(more affordable than Intel's, but also less performant). Intel® Core™ family more common are Duo and lastly i3-i7 mobile processor. The difference between i3, i5 and i7 is the speed (depending on the energy savings and performance). They have 4500, 5400, and respectively 7200 RPMs.

  • Screen sizes

When looking at the video for a laptop there are three items to look over: the screen size, resolution and the graphics processor. For most people only the screen size and resolution are all that will really matter. The graphics processor really only tends to make a difference for those looking to possibly do some mobile gaming or high definition video. Pretty much all laptops use some form of backlit active matrix display to allow for bright fast displays capable of video playback.

Screen sizes examples:

    • Netbook: 12" or Less
    • Ultraportable: 13.3" or Less
    • Thin and Light: 14" to 16"
    • Desktop Replacement: 17" to 19"
    • Luggables: 20" and Higher

    Below is a chart of the various video acronyms that refer to resolutions:

      • WVGA: 800x480
      • SVGA: 800x600
      • WSVGA: 1024x600
      • XGA: 1024x768
      • WXGA: 1366x768 or 1280x800
      • SXGA: 1280x1024
      • SXGA+: 1400x1050
      • WXGA+: 1440x900
      • WSXGA+: 1600x900 or 1680x1050
      • UXGA: 1600x1200
      • WUXGA: 1920x1080 or 1920x1200
    • Hard drive

    - Form Factor

    Most laptop hard drives are compact drives that have a 2.5″ form factor, as opposed to the 3.5″ form factor of a standard desktop PC hard drive. Because of their extra small size, they have a higher price.

    - Capacity

    Generally, you'll see a range of sizes from 80 GB to 500 GB for your laptop. Some laptops have removable hard drives that are very easy to swap out; others do not. Which one is best? It depends on what you're going to do with your laptop - if you think you'll need to upgrade your hard drive someday, make sure it's easy to do.

    - Spin speed

    For laptop hard drive RPM speed, most laptop drives run at 5400 RPM to keep heat, sound, and power to a minimum. Performance drives can go up to 7200 RPM and speed up that slow laptop–but they also add more heat. The latest technology is embedded in the:

    - Flash drives (SSD's)
    Another option that you may find available to you at a high cost is skipping the traditional hard drive with spinning platter and going for a hard drive made up of a bunch of flash memory chips. The upside to this route is reduced heat, lower power consumption, less noise, and better reliability since you have no moving parts. The downside is that you will pay more and get less capacity. The options are 60GB, 128 GB and 256GB for the moment.

    • Memory RAM

    The amount of RAM you need depends on the operating system you are using. For systems running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, you will need the minimum recommended amount, but more is often better, depending on your needs. For example Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic requires 512 MegaBytes (512MB) of Memory (RAM) while all other versions, including Vista Home Premium and Vista Business, will require a minimum of 1 GigaByte (1GB) of Memory.

    - Ex: 4GB DDR3

    • Optical drive

    - Ex: DVD reader and writer or Blu-ray DVD±RW/CD-RW w/ double-layer

    • Sound (Audio jacks (1 line-out, 1 Mic-in)

    - Ex: Built-in stereo speakers, High Defenition Audio 2.0

    • Expansion Slots

    - Ex: 7:1 media card reader

    • Interfaces

    - Ex: 3 USB 2.0 compliant ports or 2 High-Speed USB 2.0 Ports slots and one USB 3

    • Get connected:

    - Go wireless (LAN (802.11b/g/n)) or not - 10/100 Ethernet or BOTH

    • Batery

    - Long Battery Life - 6-Cell or 9-Cell Battery Li-Ion

    • Other features

    - Built-in 1.3MP webcam

    • Warranty

    - It varies from 1 year till 3 year if it is a new one.

    • Other things to consider:

    - the prices for them (If you're interested in Cheap Laptop Computers for Sale read more following the provided link.)
    - the popularity of each – or only which one is the more requested on the market and why (usually there are good reasons!)
    - the main known problems - what the reviews said – One of the complaints is the fan noise for example for some models, for others the hitting of components.
    - condition - new, used, manufacturer, refurbished (Are you interested in Refurbished Dell Laptop Computers?)

    List of Computer Terminology

    • CPU = central processing unit
    • DDR2, DDR3 = double data rate 2 or 3 (3 works faster while consuming less energy)
    • LAN = local area network
    • RAM = random access memory
    • RPM = rotations per minute
    • VGA = video graphics array
    • WVGA= Wide VGA
    • SVGA = Super Video Graphics Array or Ultra Video Graphics Array (WSVGA - Wide SVGA)
    • XGA = eXtended Graphics Array (WXGA - Wide XGA, SXGA - Super XGA)
    • SXGA+ = Super eXtended Graphics Array Plus (WXGA+ - Widescreen XGA+)
    • WSXGA+ = Widescreen SXGA+
    • UXGA = Ultra eXtended Graphics Array (WUXGA - Widescreen UXGA)
    • SDRAM = synchronous dynamic random access memory
    • SSD = solid state drive
    • CAD = Computer Aided Design - a tool - a software mainly combined sometimes with hardware special parts

    For other laptop related articles see this list:

    And remember to drop some thoughts in the comment section below related to this "List of Computer Terminology - What to Look for When Buying a Laptop?" article.


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    Comments

    Dec 1, 2010 2:58am
    freedomw
    Great idea for an article. This could benefit me sometime in the future. Right now I'm concentrating on other things. I must remember that you wrote an article for prospective consumers of computers to read.
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