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Lapping It Up

Written By: Alan Jason Smith

The idea of a laptop, or portable, computer was first conceived by Alan Kay, who worked for Xerox, at its Research Center in Palo Alto CA. He called it a Dynabook. He wasn’t the first to offer a completed laptop computer for public consumption, however. That honor went to Grid System’s William Moggridge in 1979. His brand new concept was housed in a magnesium case that was die cast. Its bubble memory was a total of 340 kilobytes. The laptop also had a luminescent folding graphics display screen.

A vastly improved laptop computer was the 1983 brainchild of Gavilan computer. Their latest version offered DOS as well as their very own Gavilan operating system, 64 kilobytes of RAM, was expandable to twice that, an 8088 microprocessor, a touchpad mouse and even a printer. The laptop and printer together weighed a hefty 15 pounds, although the laptop was a reasonable 9 pound weight.

In 1984 Apple got into the laptop act, premiering its Apple llc. Although notebook size, it was still at the high end of the comfort scale, weighing in at 12 pounds. And, as always at the start of an electronic revolution it wasn’t cheap – retailing for $3500. The Apple llc had an 8088 microprocessor, 256 kilobytes of memory (certainly tiny by today’s standard but a massive step up at that time), two floppy drives ( 3 1/2″, not 5 1/4′), space for the installation of an internal modem (not part of the original packaging), and both parallel and serial ports. It even included its own applications for telephone and address book, word processing, appointments, and calculations. It earned rave reviews and the age of the laptop was born.

Soon after IBM and its shadow, Toshiba jumped on board the laptop bandwagon.

Today’s laptops of course are far more advanced, less expensive, and smaller than these early versions. But when you’re looking for your own laptop many of the features offered by these pioneers are still the ones you’re going to want to research for your laptop purchase today. Here’s what you’ll need to compare before you make your laptop purchase:

Microprocessor – This is the brain of your laptop, the part that tells the other parts to get going and do their job. The best microprocessors now available are Pentium, the latest a Pentium IV. A step down from Pentium are the Celeron and AMD versions. Which product you choose determines the speed of your laptop. Pentium is the best and therefore the fastest. Much depends on the use you’ll be making of your laptop.

Operating System – this group of instructions, preprogrammed, dictates functions to the microprocessor. Power and security variances are determined by your choice of operating system.

RAM and VRAM – Random access memory (V is for video), should be a minimum of 126 MB to accommodate today’s software programs.

Disk drives – The newest laptop versions will have DVD or CD drives and no floppy drive. They hold more, weigh less and last longer. Remember, however, that you may have backed up your old PC with oodles of disks. If that’s the case, rather than back up all over again you may want to purchase an external floppy drive for your laptop.

Modem – While some laptops offer external modems, the easiest to use is one with want an internal 56k modem.

About the Author: Alan Jason Smith is the owner of http://www.tkcicomputers.com which is a great place to find computer links, resources and articles. For more information go to: http://www.tkcicomputers.com

Source: www.isnare.com

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