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Techie Stuff

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Multi-Core Processor

A multi-core processor contains two or more independent central processing units (CPU). A dual-core processor has two cores while a quad-core processor comes with four cores, such as Intel Core i7 and AMD Phenom II X2 processors. In addition to the obvious advantage of higher performance in multitasking, one other major benefit of multi-core processors is better power efficiency. This is very important to laptops and other mobile devices that run on batteries.  

Intel’s multi-core processors also come with Hyper-Threading technology, which delivers two processing threads per physical core. Highly threaded applications can get more work done in parallel, completing tasks faster. Intel’s Turbo Boost is another technology to benefit laptops with multi-core processors. It increases the processor’s frequency as needed by taking advantage of thermal and power headroom to boot speed, and increase energy efficiency when the burst of speed is not in demand.


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Memory Card Reader

Most laptops come with a built-in memory card reader which can accept multiple media types for convenient data transfer. The number of different memory cards that a reader can accept is expressed as x-in-1, with x indicating the types of memory cards accepted. The x can be a doubt-digit number. The following are common media formats.

Type

Maximum Capacity

Dimensions

Maximum Transfer Rate

Maximum Clock Rate

Digital Rights Management

Multi Media Card (MMC)

128GB

 32×24×1.4 mm
 

20 Mbit/s

20 MHz

No

Secure Digital (SD)

4GB

 32×24×2.1 mm
 

832 Mbit/s

208 MHz

Yes

Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC)

32GB

 32×24×2.1 mm
 

832 Mbit/s

208 MHz

Yes

Mini SD

4GB

 21.5x20x1.4 mm

832 Mbit/s

208 MHz

Yes

 


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Optical Drive (ODD)

Most laptops come with an optical drive that uses laser light or electromagnetic waves for reading or writing data to or from optical discs. Drives which can write data are also called burners. Optical drives rotate with constant throughput through constant linear velocity. DVD and Blu-ray are the two major ODD types. Their speed is measured by a (N)x number. In DVD, a 1x speed represents 1.385 MB/s while the base speed for Blu-ray is 6.74 MB/s.

DVD drives commonly support: 8X DVD-Super Multi Double-Layer Drive
Read: 24X CD-ROM, 24X CD-R, 24X CD-RW, 8X DVD-ROM, 8X DVD+/-R, 8X DVD-ROM DL (double-layer), 8X DVD+/-R DL, 8X DVD+/-RW, 5X DVD-RAM
Write: 24X CD-R, 16X CD-RW, 8X DVD+/-R, 6X DVD+/-R DL, 6X DVD-RW, 8X DVD+RW, 5X DVD-RAM

Blu-ray Disc Rewriteable (BD-RE) and DVD SuperMulti drive with Labelflash support 16 formats:
Maximum speed and compatibility: CD-ROM (24x), CD-R (24x), CD-RW (10x), DVD-ROM (8x), DVD-R (8x), DVD-R DL (4x), DVD-RW (6x), DVD+R (8x), DVD+R DL (4x), DVD+RW (8x), DVD-RAM (5x), BD-ROM (6x), BD-R (4x), BD-R DL (4x),BD-RE (2x), BD-RE DL (2x)


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Displays

Many new laptop computers use backlight LED display technology which offers reduced energy consumption, better contrast, greater brightness, and faster response to scene changes. There are white LED backlights and RGB LED backlights. Most laptop computers use white LED backlighting. Higher-end laptops adopt RGB LED backlight which is composed of a red, a green and a blue LED. RGB LEDs can produce a color spectrum that matches the color filters in the LCD pixels. This results in more vivid colors as less light is blocked and the red, green, and blue points are moved farther out.

One important LED backlighting technology is local dimming, which identifies specific areas of darkness on the screen and produces truer whites and blacks at higher dynamic contrast ratios. There is a variation of this type of LED technology – edge lighting. It uses white LEDs arranged around the frame of the panel and a light diffusion to spread the light evenly behind the screen. Edge lighting LED allows laptops to use thinner housings.

Apple offers what it calls Retina display on its new generation MacBook Pro laptops. According to Apple, this kind of display has a high enough pixel density that the human eyes are unable to notice pixelation at a typical viewing distance.


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Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi generally refers to wireless local area network (WLAN) protocol set by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). That is why the current common standards are named IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n. Each lower case letter identifies a specific Wi-Fi technology. Wi-Fi products operate in the 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands.  

 

Protocol

Frequency Band (GHz)

Maximum Data Rate

Release Date

MIMO Streams

Modulation

Indoor Range (ft))

Outdoor Range  (ft)

802.11a

5.0

54 Mbps

Sep 1999

1

OFDM

115

390

802.11b

2.4

11 Mbps

Sep 1999

1

DSSS

115

460

802.11g

2.4

54 Mbps

Jun 2003

1

DSSS

OFDM

125

460

802.11n

2.4/5.0

450 Mbps

Oct 2009

4

OFDM

230

820

 

 

 

 

 

The most important use of Wi-Fi in a laptop is Internet access. Wi-Fi adapters are backward compatible on older standards and they are usually compatible with all kinds of Wi-Fi devices certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance. There is no geographical restriction either. Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) encryption is generally considered good security protection for Internet access and local area network communication. The current fastest 802.11n standard uses the 40 MHz bandwidth which is twice that of the 802.11g/b standard. So there can be only one 802.11n network on the 2.4 GHz band at a given location without interference with other WLAN.


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