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[ The PC Guide | The PC Buyer's Guide | Designing and Specifying PC Systems and Components ]

Notebook PC Specification Issues

Notebook PCs--sometimes called "portables", "laptops" or similar names--are increasingly becoming popular in the marketplace. One important reason for this in my estimation is the freedom that notebooks can give the PC user. Especially in today's age of telecommuting, wireless communication and connectivity, many PC users feel that there is a distinct advantage to being able to "take the system with you". At the same time, notebooks have some rather significant limitations--they are not for everyone. I discuss this in some detail on the page that contrasts desktops and notebooks.

If you do decide that you want to buy a notebook machine, you will quickly realize that this is very different than buying a desktop system. For this reason, I have written this section, which provides some information geared especially towards the specification of notebook PCs. Most of the information about the design of desktop machines, the selection of components and other matters applies to notebooks as well, but they have their own particular quirks that make them unique. So consider the pages here to be an addition to the desktop information elsewhere in this chapter.

In this section I start by discussing some general issues related to specifying notebook PCs, and describe how this task differs from shopping for a desktop machine. I then take a look at the general classes of notebook PCs and how they differ. I then discuss the various characteristics and tradeoffs associated with notebook machines, and finally, provide some specific tips for component selection as it relates to notebook machines.

Next: General Notebook Specification Issues

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