Eric Allen
CI366
PC Notebook and Palm Computers
10/5/99


We’ve come a long way from the first successful portable computer. The Osborne, was introduced in 1981 and weighed 25 pounds, it came with 64 kilobits of memory. The Osborne’s limited capacity and portability made it awkward compared to today’s notebooks. And the cost was close to $1800, that’s not to affordable for the 1980’s.


Through relentless pursuit of technology, notebooks of today are just a step-down from the desktop PC. The notebooks of today are lightweight, weighing about 7 pounds and just as functional as your home computer. These notebooks occupy the same software and operating systems as the desktop. With the performance of today’s notebooks nothing, time and speed will not be sacrificed. Let’s take a closer at what features and options they have to offer.


Processor
There are two main manufactures of processors used in notebooks today, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD). The Intel processor is by far the most popular. Most processors have 32 kilobytes of cache memory directly on the processors chip. This type of memory is known as L1 cache. Without this L1 cache, when traveling outside the processor for information you has to slow down to the bus speed. The bus speed in notebook computers is 33MHz or 66MHz, that’s slowing you down compared to the speed of the processor ex. 350Mhz. Through improvements AMDs product has become more popular, they are noted for offering lower priced notebooks. Let’s talk about clock speed, both Intel and AMD K6 use megahertz to measure clock speed. Due to the differences in architecture, between the 2 chips, the K6-2 processor rarely performs at the level of the Pentium II processor with similar clock speeds.
(Computer Shopper September 1999 and PC World July 99)
Memory
Another issue to take into consideration is how much RAM (Random Access Memory) a unit has. RAM is an electronic storage area, where programs and data will be stored before the processor can manipulate it. Having insufficient RAM, the processor will wait to get its next instruction. Also you need to know how much RAM you can add later. There are a few types of ram the notebook has to offer.

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SDRAM is a type of RAM found in notebooks, it’s a newer standard, and it offers a higher performance. What exactly is SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory)? SDRAM is a new variant of DRAM that includes an on chip burst counter. The burst counter allows to increment column addresses and increase of the burst access. With SDRAM the CPU and RAM are locked together by the same clock, this allows SDRAM to anticipate the CPUs next move. This is telling you that SDRAM will operate very quickly and contains its contents without being refreshed. One downfall to SDRAM is if your computer is running less than 66MHz, your computer will not be able to satisfy the needs represented by SDRAM. This factor doesn’t come into consideration with today’s high-speed notebooks.

With today’s ability you can interplace chips to the consumers needs. A more expensive type of RAM chip available is VRAM (Video RAM), with 2 data paths for access, rather than just one. VRAM can manage 2 functions at once, and doesn’t require the system to complete one function before starting the other, so it allows faster operation for the whole video system. VRAM chips enhance graphic performance, of video adapters to speed the creation of on screen images.

(PC World July 1999)
Storage
The main form of data storage in notebook computer is the hard drive. Generally more hard disk space is better, but large hard drives, can become filled and offer slower performance. Other storage devices are available such as a diskette drive and a zip drive. So you are given the opportunity to save hard disk space through these devices. (PC World July 1999)
Multimedia
Multimedia facets of notebook computers include, working together to provide good audio and video capabilities. The components involved are CD-ROM, DVD- ROM drive, speakers, display, sound adapter card, and video adapter card. This factor is of no importance, unless it’s important to the consumer. With multimedia components you have the risk of running up the price, especially with the top of the line components.

(PC World July 1999)
Display
The quality of a notebook display is one area that’s important not to overlook. A dim or fuzzy display that may cast a glare from certain angles, can cause eyestrain, and make your experience with a notebook undesirable. A flat lightweight display technology used in notebook computers is known as LCD (liquid crystal display). This display is made up of special molecules in the screen that have the ability to bend and twist light to create images. The two major categories of notebook displays are active matrix (also known as TFT thin film transistor) and passive matrix.

Passive matrix display- uses a technology known as high performance addressing, whose displays aren’t as bright or clear as TFT, but the price can be intising. This less desirable display uses a series of crisscrossed wires to create pixels at the wire intersection. This display simply signals each pixel whether to let light pass through it. The display can be uncomfortable to use, due to a fuzzier and slow refreshing display. One benefit of the passive matrix is a slightly superior dual-scan passive matrix, and the fact is this technology is cheaper.

Well you can stop squinting now and we’ll focus on the more desirable display known as active matrix. This display uses individual transistors to control and adjust each pixel of the flat screen. The display creates a sharp, easy to view picture as well as comfort to your eyes. (PC World July 1999, www. PC Magazine.com)
Battery
When considering a notebook the battery life is of the UT most importance. If you intend to use a notebook, traveling or working in the field, where AC power is not available, long battery life is the alternative. Currently we have two main batteries to offer: Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) and Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH). Lithium-Ion battery generally offers the longest run times and least amount of weight.
(PC World July 1999)
Connectivity
How much connectivity do we need and what is available? It all depends on the purpose of your notebook. Notebook computers have the ability to connect either to telephone lines for Internet access or Ethernet lines to gain access to a LAN (local area network) includes modems and NIC (network interface cards). The most common are modems, due to the Internet many manufacturers offer internal modems. The most common modem is the 56Kbps. Another alternative is the PC card or PCMCIA. The PC card is a device that inserts into the PC card slot to increase its functions. Any system using PC cards should have some software called a card service manager or card soft. Many laptops ship with card soft. If you’re running DOS or NT, it will be tougher to configure software to use the PC card. To make life easier ensure the notebook handles a PC card ex: Windows 95/98, card services manager, and the card are compatible. There are three types of PC cards; Type I is usually for memory upgrades, Type II is usually for modems or peripheral connection ex: CD-ROM, and Type III is usually for portable hard drive. Some units are equipped with IR (infrared data transfer capabilities for connecting with other computers and printers.

(www. PC World.com, PC World July 1999, Computer shopper September 1999)
Input
Now that we have concluded some of the main components of a notebook PC, we can now discuss the different input devices. The input devices are every bit as important as the quality of the system. The ergonomics of these devices were developed with the user in mind. This is the quality and comfort of your notebook; after all you will be the one inputting. The inputting devices of a notebook computer consist of a touchpad, pointing stick, both or a device known as Fujitsu ergo trac.

A touch pad is just as it sounds it’s a pressure sensitive input device. The location usually sits in the wrist rest, the on screen pointer is controlled by dragging your finger across the pad. Usually there ate two buttons under the touchpad, for clicking items, or you can lift your finger and tap the pad.
Another input device is a pointing stick. The location generally sits somewhere in the keyboard, between the keys it looks like an eraser tip; the pointing stick acts as the mouse in conjunction with the buttons on the wrist rest. These devices are used because an external mouse is not for mobile use. (PC World July 1999)
What the PC notebook offers
Through efficient operation, the PC notebook will become a direct asset to you and your business. This device occupies the same software as you desktop PC, giving you the same look and feel. When working in the field with your notebook, the burden of wasted time inputting what’s already done, no longer exist. Just download the information of your laptop to the main system. The ability of this computer places few boundaries on what we are able to accomplish.
I have also supplied you with a chart of the top 10 notebook PCs. The first 5 will comprise your dream machine if money was no object, and the proceeding 5 will be your budget notebook.




Top 10 PC Notebook



Power Notebook
CPU
Weight
RAM
Hard drive
Screen
Screen
Battery
Input
Max.

Battery
Reliability
Price
Overall
(pounds)
(GB)
type
inches
type
device
RAM
life
rating
1
Dell Latitude Cpi A366xt
Pentium III-366
7
64
6.4
Active
13.3
Lithium-Ion
Touch Pad
256
2:15 sat
Outstanding
$2,898
88
2
Dell Inspiron 7000A366LT
Pentium III-366
10.4
64
10
Active
15
Lithium-Ion
Touch Pad
192
3:24 good
Outstanding
$3,113
87
3
Gateway Solo 5150LS
Pentium III-366
7.7
64
6.4
Active
14.1
Lithium-Ion
Touch Pad
288
2:50 good
Good
$2,999
87
4
Fujitsu LifeBook E360
Pentium III-333
8.2
64
6.4
Active
13.3
Lithium-Ion
Ergo Trac
192
2:25 sat
Good
$2,599
84
5
Fujitsu LifeBook L470
Pentium III-366
6.4
64
4.3
Active
13.3
Lithium-Ion
Touch Pad
192
1:56 poor
Good
$3,100
84
Budget Notebook
CPU
Weight
RAM
Hard drive
Screen
Screen
Battery
Input
Max.

Battery
Reliability
Price
Overall
(pounds)
(GB)
type
inches
type
device
RAM
life
1
Dell Inspiron 3500 C366GT
Celeron-366
7.6
64
6.4
Active
14.1
Lithium-Ion
Touch Pad
256
2:59 good
Outstanding
$2,057
90
2
HP OmniBook XE2
Celeron-333
7.5
64
4
Active
12.1
Lithium-Ion
Touch Pad
256
2:36 sat
Good
$1,899
85
3
Toshiba Satellite 4030CDT
Celeron-300
7.6
64
4.1
Active
13.3
Lithium-Ion
Ergo Trac
192
2:57 good
Fair
$1,799
85
4
Chem USA ChemBook 7200
Celeron-333
6.9
64
4.8
Active
12.1
Lithium-Ion
Touch Pad
160
3:20 good
$1,499
84
5
Micron Transport Trek 2
Celeron-400
8.7
64
4.3
Active
14.1
Lithium-Ion
Touch Pad
256
2:38 sat
Good
$2,299
83
PC World Magazine

Future: What’s instore for the future of PC notebooks?
If you weren’t impressed with the 400MHz, wait until the debut of the 600MHz Pentium III. The new CPU will be made using a smaller manufacturing process, that yields higher performance and lower power consumption. The current Pentium II is manufactured using 0.25 micron and 0.18 micron process, the Pentium III will exclusively be made with the more efficient 0.l8 micron, which means it will consume less power and generate less heat. The Pentium III will feature a new power conservation technology code named Geryserville. Geryserville can yield a significant boost in battery life, by voltage scaling. When the voltage decreases, the amount of power consumed by the notebook will fall. The system BIOS, operating system, and notebook chip set logic will also support the new technology. Also the notebook will graduate from a 66MHz bus to 100MHz. Then when plugged into an outlet it will operate at 600MHz, when on battery power they will run a 500MHz. All this to look for in the first half of next year.

(Computer Shopper September 1999, www. PC World.com)
The trend in the Information Age of today’s mainstream business, has changed the demand for access to customized information. The palm-sized computer, personifies this explosion for information. This new generation not only holds personal information, but can also share information with desktop computers all from the palm of your hand. The potential for these devices is incredible, most units contain handwriting recognition software, used for input.

Palm sized computer- a personal digital assistant that relies on handwriting recognition for data and text entries.

Personal digital assistant (PDA)- a palm sized or handheld computer that lets users organize information. Some versions even let users work on documents and spreadsheets. All PDAs can synchronize with a desktop computer.

Lets take a closer look at what features this device has to offer. The size of this device measures on the average of 4.7 in. high x 3.2 in. x 0.7 in. thick and weighs about 6 ounces. There are more limitations placed on the palm-sized devices versus the handheld computers. Primarily, due to lack of a keyboard and smaller amounts of RAM. But the portability far exceeds that of a handheld. The palm sized running Windows CE, has 8MB to 16MB, while units running other operating systems may have 512KB to 4MB of RAM. Usually the manufactures include ample amount of RAM to operate and maintain performance. If you want a unit with a little more RAM, some devices contain a Type II compact flash slot that lets you add extra storage memory.

(PC World July 1999, Popular Science May 1999)
Operating System
There are two main types of operating systems offered, the Palm OS and Windows CE. The Palm OS, is Microsoft’s chief competitor in the realm of palm computers. The Palm OS enjoys a larger development base, meaning hundreds of applications are available online to enhance your palms functionality. Now, Windows CE is Microsoft’s bid in the PDA operating system market. The palm sized adaptation includes pocket Outlook and Mobile Channels (lets users subscribe to supported websites) and can also synchronize with the desktop PC. Microsoft’s predominant operating system is a smaller version of the popular Windows desktop, which provides user with a similar look and feel. (PC World July 1999, Popular Science May 1999)
Display
Even know these devices are fairly new, they were first introduced in black and white. Through demand and advances in technology the more popular color screen was introduced, and has proven successful in the hand held market. The touch screen lets you run applications by tapping on them and entering data. The technology used for the screen is known as LCD (liquid crystal display), the same used in laptops. Once again we have active matrix and passive matrix displays, active matrix being the superior of the two. The 256 color active matrix LCD uses ambient light to generate color rather than powering each pixel to glow. (PC World July 1999, Popular Science May 1999)
Memory
RAM is a form of storage media in which user information, such as contacts and appointments can be stored. Ram requires a power source to maintain information, most have back up batteries. Solid state technology is give to this unit to add durability. Solid state technology is the process of writing and reading information entirely from RAM, PDAs also use this to store information. To give you an idea on how much information 2MB of RAM can store. The capacity is; 6000 appointments, 1500 to do items, 1500 memos, and 200 e-mail messages. If this is an insufficient amount of memory, then ensure to have a Type II compact Flash slot. The expansion slot allows you to upgrade the memory. (PC World July 1999)
Processor
The chips found in PDAs are not full fledged processors. RISC instruction set is used, by manufactures. Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) have increased processing speed of processor, due to the reduced size of the instructions set, which is a major advantage in these small devices. Manufactures limit the instruction sets supported by these chips, resulting in power consumption and space both valuable issue in the PDA. A multiprocessor without interlocked pipeline stages (MIPS) is incorporated into the PDA. This design is used to streamline the processor in the PDA.

(www.PC Magazine.com)
Software
Microsoft also includes pocket versions of its popular office applications of Windows CE. Pocket Outlook provides personal information management (PIM), but Pocket Word and Pocket Excel lets its users function outside the office. An example: Active Sync is only for Microsoft Outlook, so to alleviate such a problem you can purchase third-party synchronization programs. Some third-party programs available are Puma’s Intellisync, ACT, and Lotus Organizer. There’s also Pocket Power Point for presentations, plus Pocket Out look also gives the ability to surf the web. There is something called Outlook conduit software that allows you to convert files from a PIM program into a format that can be transferred to a palm connected organizer. All that PIM (personal information manager) is software with organizational features; Outlook is often included as your PIM. Conduits let you synchronize with a large selection of PIM programs. The synchronizing software allows you to communicate between your palm computer and desktop PC. (PC World July 1999)
Input devices
Handwriting recognition software lets users write on the display screen, the device used is a stylus (pen liked device used for computing tasks, wont scratch the screen). Usually a special set of characters the program recognizes, they will closely resemble natural characters.
Other Developments
The PDA has become ubiquitous in the business world. A host of third party vendors entered this enormous market. Through this rush over 2000 software titles, and 400 hardware devices enable Palms to take everything from paging, printing, GPS mapping to web access, editing spreadsheets, and using enterprise applications. GPS (global positioning system) uses data beamed down from GPS satellites, the palm displays your current longitude and latitude, elevation and other information. Technology will continue to grow, as the need for the palm computer. Even know these products are relatively new they have a promising future, because they are technologically sound and target a technological driven market. (www. PC Magazine.com)


1.The instruction set supported by the Palm computer is called.


a. CICS b. RISC c. SCSI d. PCI
2The process of writing and reading information entirely from RAM. (PDAs use this to store information.


a.solid state technology
b.pipelining
c.personal information manager
d.both a. and b.


3. Type of RAM chip that can perform reads and writes at the same time with two data paths for access.


a. SDRAM b. Static RAM c. VRAM d. Dynamic RAM
e.None of the above
4.To ulitize your PC card what software must be possessed?
a. DOS b. Window 95/98 c. Card Soft d. both b and c e. All of the above
5.Main form of storage in the notebook computer?
a. hard drive b. CD-ROM c. zip drive d. jazz drive
6.Uses a series of crisscrossed wires to create pixels at the intersection.


a. gas plasma b. active matrix c. passive matrix d. PIM
7.A power conservation technology that will be introduced with the PIII notebook. Is known as?
a. Geryserville b. PCMCIA c. power up d. solid state technology
8.Which of the following are input devices used by the PC notebook?
a.external mouse
b.touch pad
c.pointing stick
d.Fujitsu’s ergo trac
e.All except a
9.Which of the following are operating systems for the Palm computer?
a.palm OS
b.windows CE
c.Card Soft
d.Both a and b
10.The palm computer uses what to access web, paging, enterprise applications, and spreadsheets?
a.GPS satellite
b.Palm OS
c.PIM
d.Outlook

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