Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The story of the laptop/notebook PC

Ever since I first laid eyes on a laptop, I straight away fell in love with the concept of being able to bring the personal computer anywhere you wanted. The very first laptop that I ever played with was a toshiba laptop. It was quite small with a 8" screen with a 486 DX 33MHz processor (thats 0.03 GHz if you youngsters were wondering) it had 8MBs of RAM (not GBs) , a 120HDD, a trackball and running MS-DOS 6.22 and windows 3.11 (DOS???? aper tu??)

Well any ways as the development of the microprocessor gave birth to much faster machines i.e the 486 DX4 100MHz, The pentium mmx 200MHz, The pentium II 300-450MHz, The pentium !!! going from 500MHz to as high as 1200MHz or 1.2 GHz, Pentium 4's going all the way to 3.4 GHz and then the DUAL COREs and QUAD COREs

Back then all the laptops were using the very same desktop processors until the manufacturers faced a raod block. Coz everytime the processors increase in speed, the power consumption would also increase and back then even with the new Nickel MetaHydride batteries the laptops just couldnt cope so most laptops would last 0.5-1 hours tops. In the end these laptops ended up being plugged to the wall power outlet and left to be used on office desks.

People didn't seem to mind back then because they only needed the "portability" of a laptop during thier business trips, mainly for presentations. If they wanted to send E-mails and be connected to the internet, they still had to use a wired modem and find a phone out let. so setting up a laptop with a power outlet and a phone outlet was pretty much accepted.

To tackle the problem of high power consumption, intel came out with the "mobile" version of the desktop processors hence called pentium III-m or Pentium 4-m (m designating mobile). This improved the batterylife of laptops to around 1.5 to 2 hours enough but hardly a major step.
And by the time Pentium 2,3 and 4 laptops were introduced, more power hungry peripherals were used like CD/DVD-ROM drives, bigger and brighter LCD screens, Wireless radios such as bluetooth and WiFi. Back to square 1.

A breakthrough....

Somewhere during the new millenium, intel introduced the "CENTRINO" certification for laptops. Laptops carrying the Centrino logo means that it would have :

1) A new and improved Pentium-m processor in which the L2 Cache was raised to 1MB which doubles the performance while lowering the clockspeed (GHz) i.e a 1.3GHz pentium-m would have the same speed as a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 desktop at the time

2) An improved chipset providing integrated graphics (which suxx) and USB 2.0!!

3) A wireless adapter which means that you could now surf the internet without a wired modem!!! with speed of 11Mbps (at the time)

With the first generation of Centrino notebooks, it caught the consumers attention with long lasting battery life!!! some claimed up to 6 hours of usage!!! now this was a major step up indeed. And with the addition of a wireless adapter. this means that computer users now could actually bring out thier laptops as if just bringing a book. No cables needed... no power outlets required and no wired modems!!! The timing couldn't be more perfect with more and more cafes, coffee outlets and shopping malls providing free WiFi Internet as an attraction.

The first generation centrino,s was when the laptop actually became a practical tool for business, learning and leisure.

My first Centrino laptop : The Asus M2000N

Quickspecs :
Processor : Pentium-m 1.3 GHz
HDD : 40GB
RAM : 512MB
SCREEN : 14"

It was one hell of a laptop, tough robust and handled windows XP flawlessly, I could watch a whole DVD movie, and do some some typing and surfing the web all without plugging to the power outlet!!

Best thing is its still working great after 9 years!!!!!! believe that!!!

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