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January 16, 2007, 02:01 AM
Hello everyone,

Sandi - Ankesh and Dien have already given excellent responses about laptops; I hope the info. I provide can be helpful as well.

I've used a laptop strictly since 2000 (when I graduated from college; I actually gave my desktop to my stepbrother, since my laptop was more advanced.) I've found a laptop to be more useful to me because it takes up less room and you don't have as many wires getting tangled up, thanks to the monitor and computer being all-in-one.

Ankesh brings up two great points about the downsides of laptops:

They are still a bit more expensive than desktops (though not nearly as bad as they used to be - you can get a solid laptop for under $1000, and you can get some of the more advanced laptops for just over $1000.)

They are harder to upgrade than desktops (though I usually don't upgrade mine - I haven't had a need to this point with either of my laptops, though that may change in the future, but with 1 GB RAM and 100 GB HD, I feel I'll be pretty well-set for the next few years. :-)

Regarding the USB ports, I'm not sure what peripherals you are considering, but most peripherals nowadays come with USB connectors (or are supposed to be connected to USB ports,) so I wouldn't think that would be much of a problem. Even most laser printers and inkjet printers come with USB ports or USB and parallel ports, so you shouldn't have to come up with too many adaptors for most peripherals (though I think they exist also if you need them.)

Like Ankesh said, most laptops come with 3-4 USB ports, depending on whether you have a FireWire port, an S-Video port, a parallel port, etc. But most of the laptops I've seen come with at least 3 USB ports. You can also purchase USB hubs to give you more USB ports if you need them - I have a USB 2.0 4-port hub that works like a charm - I have my rollerball mouse plugged into it, with no lag time between the movement of the mouse and the pointer on the screen.

Additionally, if you choose to have your next PC customized, you could also let them know how many USB ports you want as well.

I also have an external hard drive and a flash drive - those two plug right into my side USB port and work without any problems. Some companies suggest that side USB ports don't give as much power to the items that are plugged into them like the USB ports on the back of your computer give. This is sometimes true, but for virtually all of my peripherals, the side USB port supplies the necessary power (this is also true of my scanner as well, as it's normally plugged into my side USB port.)

One other thing regarding laptops - because of their portability and the advancement in technology, virtually all laptops can get pretty hot, so it might be a good idea to consider getting a "laptop cooler," a device with fans that will keep your laptop cooler, prolonging both your battery life and your computer's life.

I have a Bytecc Laptop Cooler that I purchased at Newegg.com in March 2006 - you can see it here:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16834999336 (NOT an affiliate link.)

Just make sure you know the exhaust system of your computer - most laptops take air up through the bottom of the computer and push the hot air out of the back of the computer, but there are still a few that will push the hot air through the bottom of the computer. My laptop cooler pushes the cooler air up through the bottom of the computer, as my laptop pushes hot air out the back, but the fans are reversible for those who need the hot air to be pushed out of the bottom of the laptop.

I would recommend getting a laptop with at least 1 Gig RAM and a 80 GB HD (though if you can get 100+ GB HD, that might be better; those specifications fit better when I was purchasing my Toshiba A75-S213 in October 2005. :-)

Dien - thanks for the tip about external monitors - I will definitely have to keep that in mind in case my screen ever goes black (hopefully, not for a while!) By the way, do you have to change any computer settings for the external monitor to display anything or not?

I hope this info. is helpful - good luck in choosing a new laptop when you decide to purchase one. :-)

Take care and have a great day!


Joe Chengery III

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