Tip & How-To about Computers & Internet

Laptops, Netbooks and Beyond

When shopping for a new Laptop or Notebook, or Netbook there are a few key points to remember.

1. A Laptop is defined as a fully featured PC designed to come as close as possible in capability to your Desktop PC, while also providing an average 2 hour battery life or better. All of this while also trying to be moderate in size and desktop space requirements.



2. A notebook will be similar to a Laptop PC, but may not be as powerful, or even lack some of the features included with your laptop, and some notebooks will have most of a laptop PC's features, but in a smaller package. Typical screen size is 12 to 15 inches for the LCD screen.
These are most convenient for people with small space requirements, such as a briefcase or a purse.



3. A Netbook will most often be an Intel based PC with a screen size from 7 inches to 11 inches, and will include an intel video chip. Some newer models include an ATI Video chip as well as an HDMI or VGA connector.
Netbooks were originally equipped with an (SSD or Solid State Drive )
These electronic hard drives are most notable for their durability since they feature no moving parts. The leading cause of Laptop failure is hard drive damage. Netbooks have no DVD-RW or other CD type bay at the time of this writing, but plans are underway for adding them in the future.
Most newer Netbooks include a 160gig hard drive. These are not the SSD variety, and can be damaged, much the same as the original laptop hard drives.



4. Desktop Replacement Laptops, however, attempt to mimic as closely as possible, the abilities of a typical Desktop PC. These Laptop PC's are portable just like the other three types listed above, but the battery is best described as a power backup, rather than an alternate power source since these monsters tend to have big apetites when running at full power.
Most Desktop replacement Laptops tend to start with a 17 inch screen and climb in screen size from there. The Toshiba Quosimo below is a fine example of this larger than life model.


At the time of this writing, this monster was selling at $800!

So, now we arrive at the purpose of this Tip.
I will provide several warnings about what not to buy when it comes to a portable computing device.

Beware of ANY Laptop featuring a Nvidia Video card or chipset, since these have been failing at an alarming rate over the last few years.

HP, Dell and several other vendors have been living in a nitemare world since the introduction of this chipset, and people, it really isn't their fault!
I'm pretty sure that Nobody on the vendor side knew, that the new ball grid array type of chip soldering would fail so miserably. I am also fairly certain that Nvidia, given their great performance to date, had no idea either. There simply was no way to test these chips for a solid year before offering them to the public without them becoming obsolete in the process.

On the other side of the fence, however, we have Gateway, who has easily captured the no-fail category since their Laptops predominantly feature Intel Video Processors (GPU's) which, though they have sub-par performance, never seem to overheat. The problem, with Gateway Laptops however, has been their weak power connectors. I have had to replace and repair several of these.

Acer also seems to have done well during this same time period, creating low cost, as well as performance based PC's, as well as some very sleek looking netbooks. I bought one of the ACER-5516 series laptops for $300 from Fry's Electronics just last December, and was quite pleased with the performance.

Regardless of what model or make of Laptop PC you buy, there seems to be one very disturbing trend. Laptops are dying faster than ever before due to overheating! As we become more accustomed to laptops, and less enamoured of them, we tend to treat them more like portable DVD players than valued Computing devices.

This trend, more than any other is why so many people experience Laptop failure in as little as one year from the purchase date. So, I will try to outline some Laptop do's and don'ts here for you to save you from this costly and upsetting trend.

1.Do place your laptop on a flat surface, taking care to keep all liquids far from the device itself.
2.Don't place a Laptop in your lap without using a Laptop cooler, since your legs usually block the vent required to cool your Laptop processor and other components.
3.Do use a laptop cooler at ALL times to prolong the life of your laptop.
4.Don't place ANY laptop, netbook or desktop replacement PC on a bed since the blanket or sheet will absolutely and completely block your cooling vent which will lead to total PC failure.
5.Do use a laptop cooler with horizontal air inlets rather than downward facing air inlets to prevent air restriction. Examples below.

Bad Coolers



Good Coolers look like this one.


Notice those vents coming from the rear? Those assure you that air will always flow to your PC no matter what surface you place it on!
Remember that not all Laptop coolers are created equal, so shop accordingly. the one listed above sells for a mere $6.99 at Geeks.com.
You can click the picture and take a look yourself.
6.Do NOT close your laptop and place your school books on top of it. Doing this will mark your screen with little keyboard dimples and eventually lead to screen failure. It may also crack your screen, so beware.
7.Do NOT leave your power cord connected when you place your PC in a laptop bag or briefcase since this will definitely weaken and damage the connector AND the plug.
8.Do not leave SD cards and other media in the memory reader since some portable PC's with this feature, will try to boot from them, causing you to believe that your PC has died.
9.Do not leave any plug in devices such as wifi adapters, usb extension cords or wifi antennas attached since they will most likely damage your unit if you bump anything.
10.Do not simply close your PC and place it in your bag or briefcase because the PC will definitely overheat and cause the battery to wear down as well. Most Laptops and Netbooks will simply go to sleep or hibernate mode when you close the lid leaving the PC running and ready to run when you open the lid. In my opinion, NO PC should ever be allowed to hibernate since this feature is a leading cause of failure and file corruption with Microsoft products. Turn it off when you are finished with it and all will be well.
11.Do not rotate or flip your laptop over while it is running since this will cause your hard drive heads to gouge the data platters. Nobody EVER warns the consumer of this problem, but it is a constant problem with every laptop. Those hard drive platters rotate at a speed or 4500 to 7200 rpm, and just like a gyroscope, they will flex when turned, causing them to strike the magnetic read/write heads on your hard drive resulting in total catastrophic failure.
12.Do NOT use Windex to clean your LCD screen! The liquid will almost always run under your LCD frame and drip on the LCD inverter causing your screen to fail. there are cheap LCD cleaners available online which will NOT damage your PC.

About Netbook Coolers

Yes there are Also coolers for netbooks, but rarely will you need one since the CPU provided by Intel is designed from the ground up to remain very cool under most conditions, but even with Netbooks, a Laptop cooler still remains the Cheapest Insurance Around!

As portable computing devices develop, you will see them getting thinner, lighter and sometimes cheaper to buy. With this trend comes the added caution when using any portable PC that with Thinner also comes Fragile.
That cool new Laptop you just bought may have the thinnest profile on the market, but it ALSO has the most fragile screen! Take care of your new portable computing device, and it will always take care of you!

Remember, if you want to play that cool new PC game on your laptop, try to stick with the proven leader in Laptop 3-D gaming Chips (ATI) since their failure rate is so incredibly low.

If your software of choice is Autocad, or you do Graphic design, buy a laptop with more ram (4 gig or better) and a non intel video chip.

If you do a lot of DVD or Video editing, play it smart and use an external DVD-RW or BluRay writer to save wear and tear on that very expensive to replace internal DVD-RW/BluRay. Buy an external hard drive to back everything up, and ALWAYS make that Restore CD/DVD when prompted by your laptop to do so, or you will pay the price later, by having to BUY a new DVD/CD for a lot of cash.

Good Luck To Ya!

Bob S.

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1 Answer

i purchase s10-3 netbook. i had problem with its battery which only runs 2 hours if it is fully charged. please assist!


How long have you been using the netbook? If it's brand new, then your battery life is too short. First of all, remember the following for ensuring that your battery performance is optimal:
1. A new battery pack must be fully charged before it is put into use.
2. A new battery pack needs to be fully charged and discharged a few times before it starts performing at full capacity.
3. Batteries discharge when left unused. If you intend to store the netbook for a while, make sure that the battery is fully charged before you do so.
4. Fully drain and fully recharge your batteries every few months.

If your netbook is new, then try one or more of the following and see how your battery performance gets affected: 1. Turn down the LCD brightness of your portable device.
2. Use built-in power management on your portable device.
3. Turn off LCD or other unnecessary accessories when not in use.
4. Set screen saver blank to 1 to 2 minutes of your netbook.
5.. Add more RAM if you can, as this will reduce the usage of the hard drive which exhausts the power quicker.

Hope this helps.

May 24, 2011 | Lenovo Computers & Internet

2 Answers

My Acer Aspire one Netbook wireless button moves to right but then back again


Hi,
The Netbook wireless switch is designed like it so that if you click the right key it will enable Wireless and the left key 3G (optional)
Thanks and regards,
Anil.B.R

Aug 17, 2010 | Acer Aspire One Netbook 8.9" Notebook

1 Answer

I recently acquired a virus that I'm unable to remove from my netbook. Can I restore my netbook to factory settings to remove this virus? If so, how can I do this?


Yes ACER has a factory backup on the 160gb versions like urs. Good luck calling their tech support their complete useless idiots. I had to go through 2 days of searching to find the F key boot restore feature. You have to hold down an F key and another key I was thinking the ctrl while in preboot. I cant remember exactly but u can surf google and find it like I did. But yes a format will get rid of a virus.

Aug 13, 2010 | Acer Aspire One Netbook 8.9" Notebook

1 Answer

how would i connect my laptop to my daughters netbook? is there anyway i can do this and then boot from the dvd-rom in my laptop to perform a fresh install on the netbook?? my laptop is a acer aspire 5920 and the netbook is a asus eee pc 901 also at present i can't access the netbook as daughter has added a password that she can't remember


Hi,
You should put the installation cd directly in the netbook. Start the netbook with the cd in the dvd drive and when the message appears "Press any key to boot from cd" press enter. Then you must follow the onscreen instructions to reinstall Windows (the procedure differs for each operating system).

Regards,
nicolasiac

Feb 11, 2010 | ASUS Eee PC 901 Notebook

1 Answer

netbook bios not fully acpi compliant


you are experienceing the blue screen of death, if these happened to yo have your netbook check by a qualified laptop tech to avoid any hardware damages

Nov 22, 2009 | ASUS Eee 4G Notebook

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